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Published: 2 Jun 2015

H&M NY Megastore: Single-Brand Mini-Mall

H&M's largest global store to date in New York's Herald Square

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.

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H&M x Jeff Koons NY Flagship Collaboration
H&M x Jeff Koons NY Flagship Collaboration H&M x Jeff Koons NY Flagship Collab American artist Jeff Koons once said: “I believe in advertisement and media completely. My art and my personal life are based in it.” Which makes it especially apt that Swedish retailer H&M has chosen to collaborate with him on the launch of its largest flagship to date, located on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Koons will create both an art-inspired store concept and a limited edition handbag line for the brand – bringing the highbrow world of art to H&M’s mass-market fashion audience.

Spanning five floors, the 57,000 sq ft flagship will feature a giant façade displaying supersized versions of Koons’ Balloom Dog sculpture, 26 x 20ft LED screens, and ‘museum-inspired interiors’ – the design of which has yet to be revealed.

While H&M is renowned for its big-name product collaborations with luxury fashion labels including French fashion house Isabel Marant, Italian label Versace and US designer Alexander Wang, this is its first collaboration with an artist.

The ‘Jeff Koons for H&M’ collection will feature leather handbags printed with an image of Koons’ Balloon Dog sculpture – available on the brand’s e-commerce website and in selected US stores. They will also be sold in the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York – which is due to host the artist’s retrospective, sponsored by H&M, from June 27 to October 19 2014.

For more on how retail brands are merging art and fashion as a core part of their brand strategy, see Fendi Flagship Embraces Art Ethos, Louis Vuitton Flagship, Selfridges, McQueen Sponsors London Frieze, and Luxe Mall Store Beymen Trades on Cultural Kudos.

Also, look out for our upcoming Art-Fuelled Fashion Spaces report publishing at the end of July, which will further explore best-practice case studies and opportunities in this field.
Store Concepts
23 Jun 2014