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Two global fashion giants arrive in Auckland

Fashion for all

Two global fashion giants arrive in Auckland

H&M opens it’s first store in New Zealand

H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), is the world’s second largest clothing retailer, employing almost 150,000 people, and is available in over 60 countries. The Swedish company is now in its 70th year, opening its first store on the high street of Västerås, Sweden in 1947. From those humble beginnings, H&M opened its 3,000th store in China in 2013, and is fast closing in on its 4,000th.

H&M Logo

It was considered a significant coup for the owners of the Sylvia Park shopping centre, when they announced in October 2015, they had secured the international tenancy of H&M. The hype was magnificent, with Kiwis truly embracing the opening of H&M.

The Swedish fashion giant focuses its offerings on fashion and accessories for men, women, youth and kids. The company’s AW16 collection which showcased at the Paris Fashion week earlier in 2016, was the basis for the NZ store launch, and was combined with David Beckham’s Modern Essentials selection of his favourite pieces.

Excitement builds around the long awaited opening day

Despite rumours abounding as to when, and actually if, the retailer would establish itself here in New Zealand, they finally came with much fanfare, and from all accounts, appeared to be delivering on promises.

The October 1st opening day arrived and many of the streets around the East Auckland’s Sylvia Park shopping centre became a carpark themselves, with traffic being brought to a standstill at times. The ring road that borders Sylvia Park was awash with vehicles and people frantic for parking, so they could get a taste of New Zealand’s newest global retailer.

Shoppers were reported to have been queuing to enter the store from Friday afternoon, they were so desperate to be first! This enthusiasm was heightened by the promise of opening day incentives.

As if the car park queues weren’t enough, the morning of the store’s opening and for much of the subsequent weekend, the same mass of people were herded into the store, via an intricate “Disney” type queue system. Nobody seemed too worried about the wait, as eager customers were ushered into the store with reasonable efficiency.

What greeted the consumer was the completely refitted original Whitcoulls floor space, now housing H&M over 2 levels, and within a footprint of close to 2,300 square metres.

The bright new store was filled to the brim with garments only available via online until now, and visitor numbers were reportedly up by 20% on normal weekend foot-traffic. With unofficial numbers entering H&M itself on opening day being in excess of 9,000 people, needless to say the store checkout was working overtime!

H&M Levels

Zara – a brand in every corner of the globe.

And whilst H&M took the spotlight first, the second global powerhouse to grace New Zealand retail shores was the Spanish brand Zara which opened on 6th October.


While H&M is the second biggest global clothing retailer, Zara’s parent company Indetiex  is the first.

Founded in 1975 in the Galicia region of Spain, Zara now has over 2,000 stores worldwide, employing over 125,000 people.

Again the queues of people came on opening day, with many lining up hours before to be the first through the doors. With the opening being on a Thursday, Zara’s opening did not quite match the razzmatazz of the H&M opening.

By contrast to H&M, Zara is established over a single level and is located in the heart of the fashion strip of Sylvia Park. The store not only looks fantastic, but is huge – larger than the H&M store at 2,552 square metres. Characterised by a minimalist theme, Zara is certainly bringing European design and flavour to the New Zealand market.

H&M Mannequins

A boost for New Zealand

Both brands bring a distinct new vibe to the retail fashion industry in New Zealand. This same vibe is also particularly attractive for Sylvia Park itself which, until the arrival of H&M, had no other traditional department store, except The Warehouse, within its range of tenants.

The introduction of these global giants will of course potentially create some polarisation, as to viability within the small NZ market, but fashionistas will have both these stores on their favourites list, if opening day is anything to go by.

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A taste of European big retail fashion is here, what might be coming next?

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