Hennes & Mauritz says that it plans to launch in the autumn an extended and improved range of shoes for women, men, youth and children. The products will be available online on the hm.com site and in about 30 selected stores in nine countries including China, the U.S., the U.K. and Sweden. The company said that it would offer a variety of styles in different prices categories at “H&M prices.” During a conference call, Jyrki Tervonen, the group's chief financial officer explained that the price range will be widened, but the shoes will still be “very, very good value for money.”

The development of the footwear offer is one of the group's long-term investment projects, along with e-commerce, new brands and new products such as sports clothing. The group intends to invest between 9.0 and 9.5 billion Swedish kronor (€972.04m-$1,323.42m and €1,026.00m-$1,397.18m) this year, out of which SEK 600-800 million (€64.80m-$88.22m - €86.40m-$117.62m) should be allocated to long-term projects.

The management was coy about the investment made in footwear but noted that it is not as big as in sports apparel.  It added that it saw footwear as having “very interesting” potential. H&M declined to indicate how big its footwear business was but financial analysts believe that it is probably marginal. It is said to represent only 1-2 percent of the group's total revenues.

In the financial year ended last November, H&M posted sales of SEK 128.6 billion (€13,890.00m-$18,910.71m). Sales grew by 17 percent in the first half of this year and are expected to approach SEK 147 billion (€15,877.89m-$21.615.46m) for the full financial year.

H&M operates over 3,000 stores, compared with more than 6,000 for its closest competitor Inditex, which owns Zara. Footwear's share in Zara's total sales is higher than at H&M as its trading company for shoes, Tempe, sourced a total of 54 million pairs in the past year, according to a well-informed source.

According to an investment research group, Morningstar, H&M is seeking to boost its store count by 10-15 percent a year while strengthening its e-commerce platform, which is still in an early stage of development, and entering new markets. It recently set up its first store in Australia and it plans to enter the Philippines, South Africa and Peru in the autumn. It just opened its biggest U.S. store, measuring 5,300 square meters and offering all its products, on Fifth Avenue in New York.