What to expect from H&M's first store in Manila

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jun 18 2014 12:18 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2014 08:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- The question everyone wants to know is: When is H&M opening its first store in the Philippines?

The Swedish fast fashion is still keeping mum on the exact opening date of its flagship store in SM Megamall's Mega Fashion Hall, saying only it will open in the third quarter.

"We are very proud to open our first store in the Philippines. H&M has always been about making great fashion and quality at the best price, and Manila promises to be a very exciting market," Magnus Olsson, country manager of Greater China and Southeast Asia H&M, said in a statement.

H&M Philippines PR manager Dan Mejia said they will announce the opening month for its first store on its Twitter account (@HMPhilippines) within the next two weeks.

With more than 3,000 square meters of space, the flagship store will carry a wide assortment of H&M's collection for women, men, kids and teenagers, as well as H&M Studio.

For those who are wondering if H&M Philippines will carry the much-awaited collaboration with designer Alexander Wang, the answer is yes. Wang's collection for H&M will hit stores on November 6.

H&M gave the media a sneak peek into what to expect from its first Philippine store, as it opened its showroom on Tuesday.

Since the store will open in the third quarter, expect the racks to be filled with pieces from its autumn-winter collection, such as slip dresses, sheer beaded sweaters, leather jackets and coats.

On display at the showroom was the H&M Studio Autumn/Winter collection, which was shown during Paris Fashion Week. H&M head of design Ann-Sofie Johansson described the collection "all about feminine pieces full of sophistication and fun, worn with attitude."

Nikki Verzo, H&M showroom manager, picked out key pieces from the collection such as the silk slip dress, men's style-blazer, sheer tank top and a pair of goat suede pants.

"The slip dress is something we're anticipating will make a comeback this season... You can dress it up with a tailored jacket or even a faux fur coat, if you dare," she said.

For the men's collection, the look is described as "mixing Parisian cool with the attitude of London and the sleekness of New York." Among the key pieces are a black leather biker jacket, an elongated bomber jacket and tailored trackpants.

As for women's shoes, there were knee-high boots, strappy black sandals and comfortable-looking animal-print sneakers. There were even some cute combat boots in pink and black for kids.

A wide array of H&M accessories such as hats, earrings, chunky necklaces, rings and bags were also displayed.

Pricing, jobs

Another question on many Filipino shoppers' minds is whether the price of H&M in the Philippines will be similar to other countries.

Mejia said the pricing will be similar to other markets, although there may be some slight differences because of the currency adjustment.

"Our concept has always been fashion and quality at the best price... Filipinos are very mature and practical shoppers. When we shop, we look for something fashionable, but high quality... And most important, it is at a good price," he said.

H&M is still a few months away from opening, but the company has received "overwhelming" interest from jobseekers.

"We are overwhelmed with the applications we're receiving. In terms of hiring, we hire people based on personality, and then we train them later," Mejia said.

H&M is pleased with the high anticipation for its first store in the country.

"We see the Philippines as a very interesting market with a huge potential. One of our aims at H&M is to surprise the customer and exceed market expectations," Mejia said.