Back to list

Over 1,000 line up for clothing giant H&M's first Taiwan store

2015/02/13 21:59:13

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Swedish retail-clothing company H&M opened its first store in Taiwan Friday after enthusiastic shoppers lined up overnight for a chance to grab free gift cards.

By the time the three-story, 2,900 square-meter store in Xinyi District officially opened at 10 a.m. Friday, about 1,200 people were in line waiting, H&M said.

The opening now means the world's four leading fashion business groups -- H&M, Zara from Spain, Uniqlo from Japan, and Gap from the United States -- have entered the Taiwan market. Zara and Uniqlo in particular have seen impressive sales in the past few years, market sources said.

The location of the flagship in the busy pedestrian shopping area of Xinyi is expected to help boost sales at the store, said Magnus Olsson, H&M manager for Greater China.

While the company has plans to open more stores in Taiwan in the future, it will focus on operation of the flagship for now, Olsson said.

As an incentive for first-time visitors to the new store, the very first shopper in line was awarded a gift card worth NT$8,000 (US$180.65), while the second in line got a gift card of NT$5,000 and the third got a card of NT$3,000.

The young woman who nabbed the top prize began lining up well ahead of time -- Wednesday evening, according to Breeze Song Gao, the department store hosting H&M.

On Thursday, around five more people joined the line before it eventually exploded to the 1,200 at opening.

After the first three, the next 500 were offered gift cards of NT$500 each.

After opening, one shopper surnamed Liu (劉) said she was interested in H&M because like Zara, it sells fashionable clothes compared to Uniqlo's more basic styling.

Another woman surnamed Tung (董) bought one pair of jeans and said the price in Taiwan seemed to be about NT$100 cheaper than H&M's stores in China and Hong Kong.

But she said the styles in the Taipei store are less varied than what she has seen in other countries and hopes for more choice on the shelves.

Other customers, however, said the Taipei price tags were actually more expensive than in Japan, where average salaries are significantly higher.

Asked about the apparent difference, an H&M manager said only that "H&M always offers the best price."

Despite the enthusiastic response on its first day, H&M will have to work hard to catch up with its established competitors in the fast-fashion business.

Uniqlo drew large crowds when it opened its first store in Taiwan in 2010, and now has 51 around the country.

Zara followed in 2011, with Gap opening its first store last year.

(By Yang Shu-min and Elaine Hou)
ENDITEM/WH