Swedish fashion retailer H&M has opened its largest global store to date in New York's Herald Square, with a new-format megastore primed to target the area's huge passing trade.
Measuring 63,000 sq ft, the monumental four-storey space overtakes its neighbouring Fifth Avenue flagship in size (see Jeff Koons x H&M NY Flagship) and has been conceived as a one-brand mini-mall to showcase its full product offering – spanning fashion, beauty and homeware.
Ramping up excitement on entering the store, striking architectural features include a 30 ft-high central atrium, while its exterior boasts a custom-designed illuminated facade of glass mirrored tiles and LCD screens displaying branded content such as its high-budget, supermodel-heavy campaign films and ad images. For more on the value of devising inspirational entrances, see Limbo Spaces: Omni-Channel In-Shop Hotspots.
At present, customers can access the store via two entrance points at street level, with plans to build a third at subway-level inside 34th Street-Herald Square station (New York's third busiest station), directly connecting the store to New York's huge volume of in-transit consumers. For more on the value of retail concepts that catch consumers on the move, see Commuter Commerce in our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.
The store is divided into key sections for each of its expansive fashion and lifestyle product categories – effectively creating a mini-department store for the brand. Menswear occupies the lower ground floor, with main fashion lines on the first. Footwear and beauty (including its new 700-piece cosmetics and skincare line, launching in autumn 2015) as well as dedicated areas for lingerie, denim, swimwear and sportswear are located on the second floor (see also The Future of Athleisurewear and Athleisure Engagement Strategies), while home furnishings, kidswear and maternity sit on the highest level.
Adding technological innovation into the mix and aiming to reduce queuing times, the store's 40 fitting rooms feature curtains equipped with heat sensor technology, enabling staff to gauge when they are occupied by customers. Meanwhile, 'try-and-buy' stations – iPads manned by sales advisers – make for speedier, roaming transactions. See Future-Facing Fitting Rooms for the key strategies for converting engagement into sales.
For more on the rise of retail concepts borrowing from mall and department store retailing, see Evolution of the Retail Flagship: Hybrid Lifestyle Venues, Redefining the Department Store: Store Concepts and Redefining the Department Store: Digital Innovations.