The world of fashion is extremely fast paced and whilst H&M have curtailed its amount of store openings to focus on their online operations, the ones they have opened in our eyes as Retail Designers, have definitely been moving in the right direction.

Following on from our recent visit to the store opening of H&M Home in The Bullring in Birmingham, and previous competitor research carried out for our own clients; we’ve also seen another ‘winner’ for the brand with H&M Berlin; a new-look small boutique!

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je+1 Developing New Stores to where Retailers Should be Today: H&M Berlin
je+1 Developing New Stores to where Retailers Should be Today: H&M Berlin

H&M’s first hyper-local flagship opened its doors on October 25th this year, and is located within the creative and trendy neighbourhood of Mitte in Berlin. It’s around a fifth of the size of more typical H&M stores we’ve seen, which may become more common knowing that H&M believe rents to be higher than they should be, a quote often iterated by Mr Persson, who is the grandson of the company’s founder.

Making this smaller format work as hard as possible this store features a carefully curated assortment of H&M clothes selected to appeal to local tastes, as well as perfumes, “vegan” cosmetics, handbags and second-hand garments from partner brands.

Not only does this store sell clothes, accessories and cosmetics but it offers Yoga classes and a café with a garden.

“We need stores closer to where people hang out.” said Anna Bergare, head of business development at the H&M Lab, which is testing new concepts and technology.

It is a strategic shift by H&M to sell other brands, but not one that would be out of place on the high street with the likes of Next already doing this.

We know the idea of integrating services within a Retail Store isn’t new, but is something a lot of brands are yet to consider aside from dedicating space to an in-store Café to drive footfall and increase dwell time. As seen with more and more of our clients, a well-executed Café

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je+1 Developing New Stores to where Retailers Should be Today: H&M Berlin
je+1 Developing New Stores to where Retailers Should be Today: H&M Berlin
je+1 Developing New Stores to where Retailers Should be Today: H&M Berlin
je+1 Developing New Stores to where Retailers Should be Today: H&M Berlin

The High Street has also become a hub of services today and it’s no coincidence that Café’s, Restaurants, Hair Salons and Barber’s commonly outnumber the traditional store. These places quickly become a destination in the community and a key part in everyone’s day-to-day which H&M recognise.

Despite H&M Berlin being one of their smallest stores, it is also integrated with a digital tool offering the full range of H&M products so that the customer can browse and build on their sales. Buttons are located in the changing rooms linked to devices worn by staff and there are screens in the cafe area where they can search the full H&M range.

This is a clever response to the continual rise of eCommerce and the tendency for people to spend more time and money on experiences in-store rather than possessions.

This is a masterstroke from H&M who almost two years ago were losing market share to the likes of ASOS and boohoo, but as of June 2019 H&M has soared up Retail Week’s Indicator ranking, going from 18th to second, behind only Amazon.

H&M had previously been criticised for its slow response to the trends, but this store is a step in a positive direction in our opinion.

 

je+1 Developing New Stores to where Retailers Should be Today: H&M Berlin

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