Dec 6, 2019
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H&M Group tests subscription rental in China via COS and YCloset

Dec 6, 2019

H&M Group is diving deep into fashion rental and has just announced that it’s testing subscription rental in China. The project is going though its innovation department The Laboratory, as well as its COS label and the Chinese subscription rental company YCloset. They’ve teamed up to trial the channel as part of the group’s “way of exploring new circular business models”.

H&M is testing subscription rental in China via its COS brand

With rental expected to account for 2% of the total retail market within the next 10 years (according to a Thredup report), there’s plenty of potential in the market.

“We see that subscription rental is a growing business model, especially in China,” it said, with The Laboratory’s head of Circular and Sustainable Business Development Laura Coppen, adding: “Subscription rental has been on our radar for some time and we feel this is a very relevant model for us to explore.

"With our learn-by-doing approach, we will test subscription rental in China and iterate on learnings as we go. This will allow us to explore customer demand, the business model, potential to scale and different sustainability factors.”

So what about its partner in the project? YCloset is China’s biggest fashion rental platform with 15 million registered users, and H&M said working with it will enable the group “to learn more about its customers and the customer demographics”.  

Coppen also said the group was “inspired by YCloset’s eco cleaning facility and their shared vision of sustainability. Cleaning and logistics are critical factors with the rental business, as this is where the environmental impact is high. YCloset’s water recycling and investments in greenfield technology, are in line with what we expect from a collaborative partner.”

The test will run for three months and H&M said the rental subscription has an additional sustainable aspect to it, as customers will be able to buy the product for a reduced price when the rental period is over. “In this way, we can prevent the garment to be recycled too early, prolonging the lifespan, and thereby saving virgin resources,” it explained.   

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