Tuesday, August 7, 2007
H&M in the ATL!
H&M bringing cheap chic to Atlantic Station
Store will be Swedish clothing retailer's first in deep South
By PATTI BOND
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/06/07
Trendy H&M is finally bringing its low-priced, high-fashion concept to Atlanta.
A 24,000-square-foot store is scheduled to open this spring in an existing building at Atlantic Station. Work inside the two-story store will begin in October, leasing officials said Monday. Part of the space is now occupied by Metropolitan Deluxe, which is closing.
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Shopping hounds have impatiently waited for the Swedish retailer to debut here. H&M — short for Hennes & Mauritz — has stores in 28 countries and landed in the United States seven years ago but skipped over the deep South until now.
H&M becomes the second popular Swede to set up shop at Atlantic Station. Cheap-chic furnishings store Ikea has generated a steady stream of traffic since opening there in 2005.
"I think H&M will have the same sort of impact," said Brian Leary, a vice president with AIG Global Real Estate, the developer for Atlantic Station. "This is big for us."
H&M has built a cultlike following out of being the Ikea of sorts in the fashion world, churning out couture knockoffs at thrift-store prices. Though H&M has been described as the "fast food of fashion," its designers strike a chord with pop culture by hooking up with stars such as Madonna and Kylie Minogue for celebrity-themed lines.
The Atlantic Station site will be H&M's flagship store in Atlanta, meaning there might be room for more H&M locations here later.
The entrance will be along 18th Street, with most of the retail space on the second floor, Leary said.
H&M, which becomes one of the largest specialty stores at the mixed-use complex, will carry the retailer's full line, including clothing for men, women and children, he said.
"It's a major presence and a major statement, for H&M and for us," Leary said.
Some Atlantic Station critics have said the urban-focused center suffers from too much mall-based retail. Many of the apparel stores, for example, are also at suburban malls around Atlanta.
Leary said that landing H&M will help the center attract other far-flung retailers, particularly those that haven't come to Atlanta yet.
"We want to talk to every hot retailer — whether they're based in Japan, Spain or elsewhere — about expanding and coming here," he said. "We're trying to raise the bar with each announcement."
Atlantic Station's master development plan, including residential and office space, is only 40 percent complete, Leary said.
When Target opens in October, Atlantic Station will have about 1.3 million square feet of retail space, he said.