Thousands of people queued for the official opening of H&M in Mall of the North at 11:00 on Saturday with the first already arriving at 07:30.
While H&M Country Controller Jens Gutestam made sure that everything was in its place for the big reveal, H&M Master Trainer Teddy Nkonde gave the media and selected guests a guided tour through the store.
“H&M does things different from other stores. Each mannequin is placed next to the rack where the items of it’s outfit can be found. The price of each item of clothing is also placed with the mannequin so that the customer can see exactly what an outfit would cost,” Nkonde explained, adding that there is a specialist customer assistant in every department to ensure a pleasant shopping experience.
Four departments form the ladies’ wear section of the store. Everyday Wear is more casual and customers can find H&M favourites like the bomber jacket and signature knitwear for winter. The Modern Classics are ideal for the office or smart casual situations, while Young Fashion targets the teenage and young adult market.
Denim Concepts rounds off the women’s wear department. “We keep a designated denim area where our customers can find any denim item in a wide range of sizes and designs. We also make provision for the curvier woman,” says Nkonde.
Other departments include Men’s Wear, Young Fashion for Men, Night Wear and Underwear as well as Shoes and Accessories. Finally the Basic Wear department comprises all items like sweaters, joggers and T-shirts. Nkonde emphasises that all T-shirts are made of organic cotton and is part of H&M’s Concious range, a environmentally friendly range.
“However, sustainable fashion goes way beyond organic cotton. Each year H&M launches the Conscious Exclusive collection comprising high-end environmentally friendly pieces. We are committed to making it part of our daily offer in our stores.”
Outside the crowd roared as local radio host Hulisani Ravele and DJ Complexion provided entertainment. There were generous vouchers for people who shared the opening online and the first 300 people in the queue also received R200 gift vouchers and goodie bags.
Inside the H&M personnel were bonding as a team, enjoying a breakfast together before they started chanting, singing and dancing in unison, just waiting for the doors to open. After the H&M Mall of the North team opened the red carpet with a dance, Store Manager Salthiel Khomola and Gutestam cut the ribbon together – officially starting a new era in fashion for Limpopo.
Story and photos: MARKI FRANKEN