The first H&M clothing retailer opened in Phnom Penh last week with a celebration that featured celebrities and discounts.
The Sweden-based franchise offers men’s, women’s, and children’s fashion, and is often referred to as “fast fashion” for its low prices and high turnover of available merchandise.
The company has been criticized for its working conditions, especially among the textile workers from which it sources fabrics, but has recently signed an accord with trade unions and other brands in Bangladesh which promises humane labor practices.
Laos has, similarly, begun opening its doors to foreign franchises, including the Thai-based Pizza Company and the Cafe Amazon coffee chain.
The Spanish clothing retailer MANGO, which opened a store in Vientiane in 2018, is the first foreign fashion chain to do so.
Plans are still underway to open a branch of the US coffee seller Starbucks in Vientiane, while US-based 7-Eleven, which has had huge success in Thailand, has signed an agreement to open stores in Laos this year.