By Madison Watt
Retail chain H&M’s expansion into South Florida drew a huge crowd to the store’s highly anticipated opening at The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale. Armed with selfie sticks and colorful folding chairs, shoppers eagerly waited until the doors officially opened at noon.
The massive two-story, 28,000-square-foot store is smartly positioned next to Dillard’s on the east wing of the mall. Bright lights show off the famed glossy, apple-red H&M sign, serving as a colorful beacon to mall-goers of all ages. Patrick Shaner, H&M’s regional spokesperson, expresses his enthusiasm over the addition of the store (making it the 28th H&M store in Florida), explaining what it will add to the current Fort Lauderdale retail environment.
“With our expansion we always look for the best economic situation, the best locations and the best customer base,” he says. “Through our research we can tell that the customers in South Florida really want H&M, and they want more of us. We want to provide that for them, and give them as many options as possible.”
The store contains the familiar ladies’ and mens’ sections, however, Shaner says the store also houses exciting new additions. “You’ll see under the cash-wrap, we have eye shadows, lips and nails products,” he says. “We’re always coming out with new and different areas that we want to focus on. We’re always looking to see what customers want and then making new items to fit those needs.”
And the most anticipated addition in the upcoming season? “H&M fans can also look forward to this year’s upcoming designer collaboration with Parisian fashion house Kenzo,” Shaner says.
On-trend fashions don’t have to come at an enormous price. Shaner maintains that the key to the acclaimed multinational retail-clothing company’s success is fashion and quality at the best price for customers, as well as H&M’s sustainability project.
“We started garment collecting in 2013,” he says. “People can bring in old, unwanted garments, and we take them and send them to a recycling service center where they can be reused, then you get a discount of 15 percent off your next purchase. It’s a really great incentive.”
As for Shaner, he believes the Swedish-based retail store has something for everyone, from newborns to new grandparents. “You can mix-and-match to your personal style, and that’s really what we love to offer our customers,” he says. “It’s at an affordable price too, you don’t have to spend all your money to have a great outfit that’s on-trend.”