First store: Västerås, Sweden in 1947
First U.S. store: Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, N.Y., in 2000
Company home: Stockholm, Sweden
Total stores: 2,000 in 37 countries, including 200 in 27 states
Closest store: to Dallas Des Peres, Mo. (St. Louis area), 637 miles
Size of the new NorthPark Center flagship store: 24,000 square feet, slated to open in the second half of 2011
Other flagship stores in the U.S.: Only three: Manhattan; Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.; Michigan Avenue in Chicago
What’s the big deal? Sought-after by fashionistas on a budget, H&M is widely hailed as the originator of the “fast-fashion” retail format with high-volume merchandise and constantly changing styles. H&M carries both men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, plus maternity and children’s lines. The company does not have online stores in the United States — another reason its storefronts are in high demand.
Expert opinion: “It’s a fashion-forward product for a great price … obviously there’s a need and a demand for them, especially in this economy.” —Kent Arnold
“In some respects, I’m surprised they haven’t gotten to Dallas more quickly because Dallas is such a huge fashion market. It’s a European company looking at the whole globe as their market, with moderate expansion in the U.S. as opposed to a fervent pace. One of the reasons we’re all impatient about it is they’re a great retailer.” —Mike Geisler
“If you look at some of the most successful locations they have, they’re urban with high density, meaning a lot of people. Even though their merchandise is not extensive, they still have to do high, high, high volumes. These merchants don’t go anywhere where they think they can’t generate high sales. They will find real estate they can get at relatively low prices in their core markets. The price for a former Macy’s that closed at a mall might turn out to be pretty attractive to an H&M.” —Robert Young
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