By  on August 1, 2007

PARIS — Almost a year after being denied permission to open on the Champs-Elysées here, Hennes and Mauritz has obtained the right to open a branch on the famed street.

Last December, a Paris commission blocked H&M's plans to hoist its flag on the high-traffic thoroughfare by citing concerns the Swedish fast-fashion giant's presence would "banalize" the street.

"We are very happy that we've finally received a trade license to open," said an H&M spokeswoman. "It's a positive development."

The previous decision to ban H&M on the street was prompted by officials' fears that the Champs-Elysées was becoming too monolithic a shopping destination, to the detriment of its cultural prestige. It was a controversial move that bred confusion among many, especially since the likes of Zara, Gap and Mango already have stores on the street. While Louis Vuitton and Cartier are among the Champs-Elysées' more prestigious tenants, popular destinations abound, from a Disney store to McDonald's.

Earlier this year, Louis Vuitton won a drawn-out battle with a labor union to keep its flagship on the street open on Sunday, when most French stores are forced to close.

H&M plans to make a splash with the new unit. For the store's design, it has enlisted high-profile French architect Jean Nouvel, who recently created a spectacular angular structure to house a primitive arts museum in Paris.

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