H&M opens it's first store in New Zealand
& Mauritz), is the world's second largest clothing
retailer, employing almost 150,000 people, and is available in over
60 countries. The Swedish company is now in its 70th
year, opening its first store on the high street of Västerås,
Sweden in 1947. From those humble beginnings, H&M opened its
3,000th store in China in 2013, and is fast closing in
on its 4,000th.
It was considered a
significant coup for the owners of the Sylvia
Park shopping centre, when
they announced in October 2015, they had secured the international
tenancy of H&M. The hype was magnificent, with Kiwis
truly embracing the opening of H&M.
The Swedish fashion giant focuses its offerings on fashion and
accessories for men, women, youth and kids. The company's AW16
collection which showcased at the Paris Fashion week earlier in
2016, was the basis for the NZ store launch, and was combined with
David Beckham's Modern Essentials selection of his favourite
Excitement builds around the long awaited opening day
Despite rumours abounding as to when, and actually if, the
retailer would establish itself here in New Zealand, they finally
came with much fanfare, and from all accounts, appeared to be
delivering on promises.
The October 1st opening day arrived and many of the
streets around the East Auckland's Sylvia Park shopping centre
became a carpark themselves, with traffic being brought to a
standstill at times. The ring road that borders Sylvia Park was
awash with vehicles and people frantic for parking, so they could
get a taste of New Zealand's newest global retailer.
Shoppers were reported to have been queuing to enter the store
from Friday afternoon, they were so desperate to be first! This
enthusiasm was heightened by the promise of opening day
As if the car park queues weren't enough, the morning of the
store's opening and for much of the subsequent weekend, the same
mass of people were herded into the store, via an intricate
"Disney" type queue system. Nobody seemed too worried about the
wait, as eager customers were ushered into the store with
What greeted the consumer was the completely refitted original
Whitcoulls floor space, now housing H&M over 2 levels, and
within a footprint of close to 2,300 square metres.
The bright new store was filled to the brim with garments only
available via online until now, and visitor numbers were reportedly
up by 20% on normal weekend foot-traffic. With unofficial numbers
entering H&M itself on opening day being in excess of 9,000
people, needless to say the store checkout was working
Zara - a brand in every corner of the globe.
And whilst H&M took the spotlight first, the second global
powerhouse to grace New Zealand retail shores was the Spanish brand
Zara which opened on
While H&M is the second biggest global clothing retailer,
Zara's parent company Indetiex is
Founded in 1975 in the Galicia region of Spain, Zara now has
over 2,000 stores worldwide, employing over 125,000 people.
Again the queues of people came on opening day, with many lining
up hours before to be the first through the doors. With the opening
being on a Thursday, Zara's opening did not quite match the
razzmatazz of the H&M opening.
By contrast to H&M, Zara is established over a single level
and is located in the heart of the fashion strip of Sylvia Park.
The store not only looks fantastic, but is huge - larger than the
H&M store at 2,552 square metres. Characterised by a minimalist
theme, Zara is certainly bringing European design and flavour to
the New Zealand market.
A boost for New Zealand
Both brands bring a distinct new vibe to the retail fashion
industry in New Zealand. This same vibe is also particularly
attractive for Sylvia Park itself which, until the arrival of
H&M, had no other traditional department store, except The
Warehouse, within its range of tenants.
The introduction of these global giants will of course
potentially create some polarisation, as to viability within the
small NZ market, but fashionistas will have both these stores on
their favourites list, if opening day is anything to go
A taste of European big retail fashion is here, what might be
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