NEW YORK — Hennes & Mauritz’s 10th store here, a 25,758-square-foot, two-level unit, bowed Thursday on the corner of 86th Street and Lexington Avenue in the stylish new Lucida building with all the Swedish retailer’s attendant fanfare. A red carpet was rolled out on the sidewalk and beefy security guards stood behind velvet ropes blocking the entrance until the noon opening. Just inside the store, a phalanx of H&M staffers stood at the ready to whoop it up when the first customers streamed in.
This story first appeared in the May 29, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The store represents H&M’s latest prototype and is one of only four units to feature all four concepts: Women’s, men’s, teens and children’s fare is offered in a new way. “We’re trying to give a shop-in-shop feeling to the concepts,” said an H&M spokeswoman. “We want to make the concepts clearer to our customers. We also focused on wardrobe merchandising or showing complete outfits.”
The store itself is cleaner, more modern and brighter, with new fixtures, sleek surfaces, white cubes for displays and Marcel Breuer-style tables for merchandising key items. Wall paintings in the children’s area bring a touch of whimsy to the store.
H&M’s flagship at 51st Street and Fifth Avenue is getting a makeover to bring it in line with the new prototype, the spokeswoman said.
The main floor — where a DJ was spinning for the opening — is home to H&M’s fashion and every day collections. On the second floor there is a maternity area and a small section for women’s classic and dressier wear. A swing concept shop near the teen collection, Divided, is devoted to Fashion Against AIDS, a collection of dresses, T-shirts, tank tops and bodysuits designed by Estelle, N.E.R.D, Katy Perry, Dita Von Teese and Yoko Ono. Twenty-five percent of sales of Fashion Against Aids will be donated to HIV/AIDS youth awareness projects. A version of the collection will bow in Divided departments for girls and boys in June.
Men’s occupies the most square footage on the second floor. “Men’s has been expanding over the year,” the spokeswoman said. “We have a growing male customer. Sales have been increasing.”
H&M estimated there were more than 200 people on line waiting to enter the store. The spokeswoman said they were given Access to Fashion Pass shopping cards valued up to $300, an H&M T-shirt and an autographed image of British R&B and hip-hop sensation Estelle from the Fashion Against AIDS campaign for H&M in which she appears.