AFTER YEARS BEHIND SCAFFOLDING AND CONSTRUCTION SITE BOARDS THE NEO-CLASSICAL FAÇADE AT THE CORNER OF GUSTAV ADOLFS TORG AND STORA NYGATAN HAVE GOTTEN A FACELIFT.
Today it was all gone and the corner teaming with energy. The lines behind red velvet ropes did not represent Swedish aspirations of gender equality as well over 80% were women of varying ages. Most dressed in the darker tones on the scale of 50 shades of Grey contrasting the lighter overcast skies.
At noon the sliding doors opened and a caravan of black clad store personnel marched onto the square singing Hallå, Hallå Malmö to the tunes of Queen’s “We will Rock you”. As dance music pumped out across the square golden scissors ceremoniously cut a red ribbon, making the grand re-opening of the H&M store a fait-a-compli. As the crowd streamed towards the doors in orderly fashion (this is Sweden after all) security guards kept a caring eye. Inside the gleaming new store, racks and racks were filled with similar monotones. Here and there a splash of color confirming that spring will be in fashion this year as well. The female DJ kept up the pulse.
Those in the know avoided the large crowd and got a goodie bag at the entrance to the new H&M Home store at the opposite corner. First in line, an animal print clad young mother with a stroller. At the VIP opening last night she had spied an engraved cutting board and was back today to get it as a personalized gift.
Eventually the two streams mixed in the vicinity of the lotions, potions and lipstick. Some grabbed a hand out fruit smoothie (no added sugar just fruit likely making it both vegan and lactose free) for the ascent up the escalators to the next floor. Between the racks of T shirts and tops the line to the fitting room snaked across the floor.
What sets this store apart from mots other stores of the multinational giant is the “Take Care” concept where those with new purchases can add bespoke embroidery or extend the life of a pair of favorite jeans can have holes fixed or split seams mended in the spirit of millennial fashion.
A downwards arrow lead the significantly fewer men down below into the basement turned man cave. The buzzing came not from the crowds but from a pop-up barbershop. A few men with too much hair above the eyebrows or on the chin subjected themselves to the shears of barber and coffee.
By the exit a real wall of pink roses invited Instagrammers and selfietakers to spring pictures. You have to be in it to win it, bricks and mortar retail are not dead yet.