The largest H&M in the UK opened last Friday and we were there to check it out.
The store occupies three expansive floors in Westfield Stratford City mall and has a bright glass front that showcases a pretty minimal product display with a few celebratory red and white balloons – so far so normal. Although the immediate mannequin displays felt similarly ordinary, the more we explored inside the store, the more rewarding it became.
The Home department sits in its own room and feels very credible as an offer. Creative visual merchandising creates casual room sets that encourage the customer to explore and the product feels as trend-driven as the rest of the H&M fashion offer.
The dark grey backdrop allows the product to pop out and the warm timber floor gives a relaxed domestic feel. We loved how the small customisation station with sewing machines attracts customers wanting a more personalised product.
The highlight of the store for me is the Beauty department. A lovely curated mix of glamour and fun, the space stands up alongside the best Beauty offers on the high street. ‘How to’s’ such as ‘top five brows’ help customers to make the right product choices.
Individual brightly coloured pods of facemasks look enticing and playful alongside the more fashion-driven makeup for eyes, lips and face.
To complete the offer there’s a small nail bar tucked under the stairs – a playful and engaging touch.
The Children’s department on the top floor is fun with nice little touches such as illuminated bunting, balloons and fixtures inspired by carousels and fairgrounds – although some of this we feel like we’d seen before.
The rest of the store is as you’d expect from a standard H&M shop, but it’s a shame the iconic TOV we’ve come to know and love from this brand was missing.
It’s a nicely executed shop, with some great features and it was very busy. However, it will be interesting to see if H&M build on the design and offering in the future. It has all the potential to be not only H&M’s biggest UK store, but also a destination in its own right.
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