Take a look at the new H&M in Cheltenham
High Street brand H&M opened in Cheltenham’s Regent Arcade today and we sent Amita Joshi to the opening to find out what the store is like.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way - and for shoppers the saying could not be more fitting.
With more than 400 people waiting in the queue to get inside the new H&M store, Cheltenham residents could not be more eager to get their hands on the latest trends.
With goodie bags filled with H&M magazines, balloons and make up bags, they counted down the minutes to the 11am opening.
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Farhana Syeda, 22, who was waiting in line, said: “I’ve been waiting here since 10am.
“It’s the first shop I’ve seen that has had a proper launch and with the 25% discount wristbands, we’re looking forward to it.”
I joined the torrents as they flooded into the store alongside Martin Schuck, 62, who was first in the queue.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been inside an H&M,” he said.
“I started queuing around 9.40am, I wanted to have a look, they have got good quality items.”
Taking a look around, the initial reaction was how small it was.
I was soon proven wrong after going to the second floor, where the store extends across the top of the arcade.
What is noticeable is H&M’s determination to appeal to everyone.
Although their items in the Cheltenham store don't have a distinctive look, they have played it safe by picking out the latest fashions that can be worn by people of all ages.
On the third floor where children queued to get their faces painted, Debbie Pengelly from Prestbury said: “We’ve been waiting a while and it’s a good discount and they have a brilliant range of kids clothes.”
“I used to go to Gloucester especially for my children so I’m glad they’ve opened in Cheltenham, apart from a Zara, they’ve got everything in our town.”
Regent Arcade Centre Manager John Forward was delighted with the launch.
He said: “H&M have worked phenomenally hard to meet today’s deadline.
“Everyone kept saying they wanted an H&M and it will drive other retailers to Cheltenham.”
But what does it mean for independent shops with yet another retail giant opening?
“Competition in central locality is good competition” said John.
“It’s key to the town’s success as it gives customers more choice.”
The white walled, spacious feel is not far from the three-floored H&M on Fifth Avenue, New York City and with a resident DJ playing the latest club hits, it is as upbeat.
And although the escalators stopped mid-descend, much to my alarm, it didn’t seem to phase customers who were happy to make the most of their discount day.
If you’re looking to shop in a leisurely manner for luxury items, this is probably not the store for you.
But if you want day clothes or night out dresses for an affordable price, you'll welcome H&M with open arms.