Australia's first H&M store opened in the luxurious GPO earlier this year. The excitement clearly has not died down, with shoppers still drawn to the megastore in huge numbers. I went on a Thursday evening, which is supposedly a quiet time compared to the frenzy of shoppers flocking to H&M by day.
Swedish retail clothing giant H&M has taken over the entire Melbourne GPO.
Like other international retailers Topshop and Zara, H&M is renowned for their megastores with quick turnover and cheap fashion. I thought that Topshop and Zara did not quite live up to the hype over their affordability. Perhaps it was the conversion rates, but there were certainly stores already in Melbourne with comparable clothing at lower prices. I had expected H&M to be more of the same, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they actually are fairly cheap.
A section of women's clothing basics at H&M.
H&M seems to be best for basics, with entire sections of the store dedicated to staple pieces. Long sleeved tops were $14.95 and basic knitted jumpers were $29.95, and that was full priced stock. The store, which spans across three floors, is somewhat organised into sections, but is quite difficult to navigate. There seemed to be at least three sections for general women's clothing, one of which was more youthful and carried more statement pieces. With dedicated sections for lingerie, costume jewellery, active wear, jeans and more, H&M seems like a patchwork of specialist stores. Their style is not too different to Cotton On and its lingerie spinoff Cotton On Body, with similar price points.
In regards to quality, H&M seems to be a mixed bag. There are some pieces which look like they will last awhile, including their leather jackets and boots. The material of most items felt nice, which is a good indication. Their shoes seemed to be reasonably well construction. No items seemed to be particularly shoddy. The costume jewellery is probably not of high quality, but this is no different to stores such as Diva.
Most of the clothing was at full price, but there were a few sale pieces scattered around. There was no dedicated sale section, so you really have to hunt around if you're searching for sale stock. With almost 5000 square metres of floor space, don't expect to briefly drop in to H&M. Just to cover the women's sections took over an hour of speed-shopping.
The iconic H&M sign.
H&M is definitely worth a visit to see what all the fuss is about- and with endless racks of clothing at bargain prices, you will want to come back to stock your wardrobe every season.