KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Hours before the first H&M opened in Kuala Lumpur this morning, a queue of about 1,500 people had already formed outside Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang.
In fact, some of them were there from the day before... so eager were these people to be one of the first people to shop at H&M.
The Malaysian Insider spoke to some of these intrepid shoppers to find out why they were willing to queue up just to shop.
Michelle Tan, 20, and Cheah Mi Zhi, also 20, had been waiting since 7am the day before.
“We wanted to get the RM500 voucher H&M is giving to the first person in line. At first we heard that H&M was giving out RM50 vouchers as well but we thought it was better if we could get the RM500 voucher,” said Cheah.
Both these students said they had no classes on Friday so they stayed overnight. They said they felt safe because the lights were on and there were people around.
“I first heard about H&M two years ago and I bought the clothes from the shop in Singapore,” said Cheah.
Tan went on a holiday this year to New York and that was when she first saw H&M. She said the Kuala Lumpur outlet looks similar to the ones in New York.
She also fell in love with a Swedish guy in the Big Apple and he was the one who told her that H&M is from Sweden. She plans to visit the original H&M in Sweden one day because she likes the brand.
“The clothes are really pretty and affordable. I like brands like Zara and Jaspal. It’s really awesome that H&M finally opened here,” said Tan.
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz AB) was established by Erling Persson in 1947. The clothing retailer offers clothes for women, men, teenagers and children.
“We are excited to finally open H&M here in Malaysia and to be expanding within the Southeast Asian market. H&M has always been about making fashion and quality at the best price and we look forward to bringing something new and exciting to Kuala Lumpur,” said Lex Kejiser, country manager for H&M Greater China, Singapore and Malaysia, in a press statement.
Well, it looks like the people in Kuala Lumpur are pretty keen on the brand as well. Another keen shopper waiting in the queue was Lim May Wen, 28, a graphic designer.
“I usually spend about RM200 to RM300 per month shopping and I normally buy from Zara, Cotton On and Topshop. The first time I heard about H&M was when it launched in Singapore,” said Lim, who earns about RM2,500 per month.
We also spotted a stylish woman with her children waiting for the doors to open. Azlin Rashid, 44, is a homemaker and she brought her children aged five to 19 for the opening of H&M.
“I love brands that carry complete family lines such as H&M. Whenever I shop, I buy clothes for the whole family so each time I go shopping, I spend about RM500. I earn about RM6,000 per month,” she said.
Nadia Singh, 24, is a software engineer who frequents Cotton On, Topshop and Zara. She tends to spend about RM200 to RM300 a month on retail therapy.
“I visited the UK recently and found out about H&M when I was there. I was excited to find out that H&M was opening in KL!” said Nadia.
“The style of H&M is like Zara, Cotton On, Topshop and Forever 21 — that’s why I like it. I also found out about H&M when I went to the UK for a vacation. Usually I spend about RM300 per month on shopping,” said 23-year-old Cecilia Kwan, a friend of Nadia’s.
Yasmin Omar, 24, is a HR assistant manager who earns about RM4,000 a month. On average, she spends more than RM1,000 per month shopping.
“I found out about H&M when I travelled to Hong Kong and Singapore. I love scouting fashion brands online and that’s how I found out about the opening in Kuala Lumpur,” said Yasmin, who loves brands like Miss Selfridge, Bershka, Topshop and Zara.
Ho Ji Chan, 24, works in advertising and spends about RM500 on clothes out of her RM2,000 salary per month.
“I’m lucky to have less financial commitments, and I don’t need to pay as many bills,” she said. “When I get the clothes they last for a long time, like six months to a year. So they are a pretty good investment.
“I have always been a H&M fan since I studied in London for three years. When they decided to have the launch and announced it on Facebook early this year I was very interested. I like H&M because it is high street fashion at such an affordable price, and I don’t really need to be rich to enjoy it.”
She also named Zara and ASOS (an online brand) as the brands of her choice, finding their clothes comfortable. Because of her size she sometimes found it hard to buy clothes that fit. Zara, H&M and ASOS have a wide range of sizes, with clothes that help her look confident and fashionable at an affordable price.
Zaza Ghani, 27, is a hotel pastry chef who earns more than RM2,000 a month and spends it on brands like Jaspal, Armani Exchange and also Zara.
“I love fashion, so I came here to have a look and see the new designs,” she said. “I like the brands because of their design and style — sophisticated, fashionable and trendy.”
Afifah Aziz, 27, principal at Smart Reader Kids, had been waiting in the line since 8.30am. She wanted to get the RM500 voucher, but she came late.
“Now I’m trying for the RM50 one,” she sighed. She likes the style of H&M, and bought clothes from the fast fashion retailer first in London. Another brand she likes is Zara. She earns RM3,000 a month and spends approximately RM300 on clothes.
Mandy, 26, a finance officer, found out about H&M’s launch where girls at the (Masjid Jamek) LRT station, near her work place, were handing out goodie bags.
“I was free today, and I have bought the brand before so I decided to come and line up. I like the good quality and the price is affordable. Plus the fashion is in trend.”
Asked about her favourite fashion brands, she said she didn’t have a specific one. “I look mainly for the balance between quality and price. Brand is not important to me.”
Another shopper, 32-year-old Indra, a bank officer, came because of the promotion.
“Some people were promoting at Masjid Jamek (LRT station) and they told me I could get a voucher if I waited in line”, she shrugged. She earns above RM3,000 and spends about RM100 on clothes.
There are about 2,600 H&M stores located in more than 40 countries worldwide.