Business Of Fashion: Fashion Powerhouse H&M In Talks To Raise Prices
Part of the fashion powerhouse, retailer H&M’s appeal to young shoppers is not only their timely trendsetting styles but their budget-friendly prices for young shoppers, which is likely to diminish in the future as garment factory workers continue to demand higher wages.
The Swedish retailer H&M says there is the possibility that they will increase the prices of their products to help pay factor workers in regions such as Bangladesh and Cambodia higher wages but is not likely to happen in the near future.
While the US$5 tees and US$25 jackets and blazers make the affordability of H&M’s clothing appealing to consumers, textile workers responsible for making the clothes seem to receive the shorter end of the stick. Retaliating in large numbers, workers have gone on strike in protests that have turned violent and have clashed with police in their respective regions.
Hoping to push the governments of these regions to increase minimum wages, H&M has taken the first steps by claiming they will use its size and influence with suppliers to ensure an increase in payment. Earlier this year, H&M was one of the first retailers to sign a legally binding agreement to ensure an upgrade in Bangladesh garment factories following the collapse that killed more than 1,100 workers.
Swedwatch, an independent organization that oversees Swedish business relations, has backed the apparel giant by saying that H&M has indeed been lobbying governments to raise wages, conduct annual reviews, and settle on agreements to protect workers.
Wages in Bangladesh, the second-largest producer of textiles, are now said to be as low as US$67 a month, a barely livable wage in the country yet a dramatic increase from the US$37 per month rate reported earlier this year. Wage increases alone however, may not be enough to pull workers out of poverty as the prices of rent and food are predicted to increase alongside these wages.
Pressing on, H&M moves forward with the hopes of providing better living wages to more than 850,000 workers by 2018.
Photo via Shop West Farms