From Sweden with Love and Style
By George Anderson
The same thing happens every time H&M opens a store in the states. Long lines of people
queue up waiting for the doors to open and the shopping and saving to begin.
The Swedish retailer, reports the Star Tribune, will open its first store in Minneapolis at the Mall of America tomorrow and crowds are expected.
“If history is any indication, the store will be packed with some very aggressive shoppers,” said Wendy Farina, director of strategic consumer intelligence at Kurt Salmon Associates
in New York.
The unit, measuring 26,000 square-feet, will be stocked with designer or runway knockoffs at prices that are in a word — cheap.
“It hits the mark in terms of getting you everything you could want from the fashion magazines,” said Sara Rogers, a trend specialist at the Mall of America.
Consumers can buy sunglasses that appear as though they are straight out of the Gucci catalog for under $6, reports the Star Tribune. Velveteen jackets are priced about
a third of what consumers, mostly young, fashion-conscious and cash-strapped, would pay at a department or higher end specialty shop.
Some question whether the quality of goods will take some of the luster off H&M’s appeal.
“My own take is their merchandise is poorly made, it’s cheap and I wouldn’t buy it,” said Richard Hodos, president of the retail consulting firm of Madison HGCD. “They’re doing
well, but their stores may be a bit too fast for the Midwestern shopper.”
H&M spokeswoman Lisa Sandberg said some assume the chain’s low prices mean lower quality goods, but that is not the case. “If people go in and look at the clothes and wear
them, they’ll find out that they stand up to time,” she said.
Salmon Associates’s Farina said H&M’s appeal “Isn’t about the quality. It’s about having something that’s hot this season and getting it now.”
Moderator’s Comment: Is H&M the clothing version of Krispy Kreme, as some suggest, or does the store and its merchandising concept have staying power?
What do you see as its strengths and vulnerabilities? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Yet another Swedish retailer has shoppers waiting in line – Minneapolis Star Tribune
- H&M: Hip, hot & here – Minneapolis Star Tribune
- H&M: What You Need to Know – Minneapolis Star Tribune