Monki, a fast-fashion brand owned by Swedish retail giant H&M, announced the closing of its Tmall flagship store on March 10. Monki will close its store on April 1, 2022, according to the announcement.
Monki has 98 stores worldwide, according to H&M Group’s 2021 financial report. After abandoning the Japanese market in 2016, this brand put a focus on Europe, as well as expansion in Mainland China and Hong Kong. However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Monki’s has struggled to hit its stride in the market.
Monki did not receive the same level of popularity in the Chinese market compared to its two sister brands, H&M and COS. Monki’s official WeChat account only lists nine stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Nanning, Shenzhen and Xi ‘an. Beyond that, most of its stores in China are virtually closed.
Cost performance was central to Monki’s strategy since its establishment, but the brand may have missed the mark in China. The few discussions surrounding Monki on Chinese social media reveal “discount” as the brand’s strongest impression on consumers.
Such cost-performance brand positioning may have been advantageous in the Chinese market a decade ago, but with more international brands entering China and the rapid development of local brands, fast fashion brands are no longer able to compete on cost alone.