Hennes & Mauritz AB marked its 10th anniversary in Italy with the opening Friday of a sprawling flagship in Rome’s shopping street Via del Corso. Covering four floors and 43,200 square feet, the store carries all the brand’s women’s, men’s and children’s lines.
“Rome is the capital of Italy, one of the most important and wonderful cities in the world. It was really important to have a special store in the best location in this city,” said Dan Nordstrom, country manager of H&M Italia. “There are a number of factors that determine where we open new stores. The most important are customer base, best location, best business conditions.”
To be sure, Nordstrom said that the relevance of the business location is such that the group “would rather hold off from opening a new store and wait until the right location becomes available.”
The building housing the flagship is a former Military Union headquarters, and has been redone by architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas. The interiors were designed in-house at H&M’s Stockholm headquarters. Carrara marble and Alcantara leather stand out as some of the distinctive elements.
“In the big cities where H&M has stores, we often have a full-range store that we call a flagship store. This is a store that symbolizes something a little extra, such as an attractive, symbolic and strategic location or it is located in a special building. With this store we have both the aspects,” said Nordstrom.
Despite Italy’s lackluster economy, Nordstrom was upbeat about the potential in the country. “Italian customers love our brand. Our business concept, ‘fashion and quality at the best price,’ is really appreciated, from north to south. We are present in quite all the regions of Italy but we still see a potential in expanding,” he said.
As the company is listed on the Stockholm Exchange, Nordstrom declined to provide expected revenues for the store. In the three months ended Aug. 31, in Europe, the company registered sales growth notably in Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Poland and Russia, H&M said last month.
Nordstrom revealed that H&M will open three additional stores in Italy by the end of the year — another unit in Rome; one in Villesse, near Italy’s Gorizia on Nov. 21, and one in Mestre on Nov. 24.
The first H&M store in Italy opened in September 2003 in Milan’s Piazza San Babila. With the Roman flagship, H&M counts 109 units in Italy.