Retail Detail Update. H&M Attempts to Explain Discarded Merchandise Bust

January 11, 2010 • Shopping

H&M store on 34th St. in New York City

Last week, The New York Times blew the lid off of a despicable practice that was caught taking place at a New York City H&M. Now, the retailer is trying to respond accordingly and justify their actions. But is it too late to save their image?

After graduate student Cynthia Magnus found garbage bags full of unused but damaged merchandise outside of one of New York's biggest H&M stores in December, she contacted The New York Times on what seemed to be a flagrantly inappropriate situation. Writer for The Times, Jim Dwyer, visited the scene of the crime again last week and sadly, found the same thing: "At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were about 20 bags
of garments that appear to have never been worn,
" Dwyer wrote. "And to
make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed
most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside
H&M's back door." Readers were outraged, understandably, at the negligent and careless behavior of the retail giant. After several attempts by the Times, a spokeswoman for H&M, Nicole Christie, released a statement last week denying any prior knowledge of these practices and an assurance that it would not happen again. Today, Christie released another statement today in an attempt to explain why the disposal of perfectly good clothes could have happened, and how the whole incident is just one big misunderstanding. But is it?

"What [The New York Times] found outside of the store were
garments that were already damaged," Christie claimed. "They did not meet
our safety standards or they were items used for in-store displays. The
34th Street situation was not normal for us at all. This is one of our
highest-volume stores in the country–we have about 200 in the
U.S.–and this week, we were in the middle of our post-holiday cleanup.
But there will always be garments that are casualties of day-to-day
operations. We have a very liberal return policy. Our customers are
first priority,
so we take things back that they aren't completely
happy with, even if it is damaged beyond use. Merchandise becomes
damaged on the sales floor, in the fitting rooms, and in transit to the
store. Whenever possible, globally, we donate garments that have been
returned to our stores, but what we cannot donate are garments that do
not meet safety requirements, have chemical restrictions, or are

Christie also went onto explain that shoes are often punctured for floor displays, so that's why they many shoes were found damaged. She also noted that hangers are mandated by the company to be recycled and when Magnus found loads of hangers on the street, they just happened to be there at that moment. "That's not our normal routine," Christie noted. In addition to another whole pile of excuses, Christie did say that in light of these events, H&M will be reevaluating their policies to make sure they reflect the most environmentally-savvy codes. But how do we all know this isn't just another big load of garbage?

Read the full story at the Fashion Week Daily Dispatch.

Article Source: Fashion Week Daily
Photo Source:
-Alia Rajput

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