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In November of 2013, H&M opened a flagship store in Times Square, with much fanfare, including a guest appearance by Lady GaGa.  The president of H&M, Daniel Kulle, says that this store will be the most productive H&M in North America.  The store is 42,000 square feet, with 300 employees, 44 fitting rooms, and 24 cash registers.  The store will have extended hours of operation from 9:00 am to 1:00 am, seven days a week.

Article 2The Times Square H&M is also introducing new features, such as the try and buy feature.  This option allows customers to pay for merchandise while trying it on in the dressing room.  This location represents H&M’s investment in technology.  There are two 30-by-200 foot LED screens on the sides of the building.  The ground floor windows that face the street are interactive.  Throughout the store, customers can find light boxes with messages about deals and events within the store.  Above the entrances inside, there are two LED portals with changing graphics as well as displays of revolving mannequins.  In the fitting rooms there are iPad stations and benches.

Hanging from the 3rd floor ceiling are trusses that can be raised or lowered.  H&M will hang mannequins from them that look like they are flying.  Behind the cash wraps from the ground floor to the third floor is a “glitter wall” that likes like a “3-D silver quilt.”  There will also be a DJ booth that spins music regularly.  H&M will also feature an LED runway where customers can “strut their stuff.”

In addition, this new location will also feature new design collaborations, including a new line with Isabel Marant.  There will be extended shoe offerings for all ages.  The Times Square H&M location will also offer Dividend, a line of clothing featuring army fatigue fabric and flannels, targeted towards a younger and trendier audience.

Retail space in Times Square is some of the most expensive in the country, with rents often exceeding $2,000 per square foot.  In order to survive and thrive, H&M must offer customers an environment conducive to high volume sales and inventory turnover.  H&M is hoping to capitalize on the subway traffic as the new location is on the corner by the biggest subway station.  In 2012, more than 62 million people passed through the complex.  H&M is also planning on opening two more stores in high-rent districts in New York; one will be at Fifth Avenue and 48th Street and another will be at 1 Herald Center and will be the largest store in the H&M chain.

Discussion Question:

What high-tech design elements is H&M integrating into its new flagship store in Times Square, New York?


SOURCE: Sharon Edelson, Women’s Wear Daily, November 12, 2013