Where movies once played on the big screen at Miami Beach’s Lincoln Theatre, there is now a 19-foot LED screen with videos of models parading down the runway in the hottest fashion looks.
The rebirth of the historic theatre marks the long-awaited arrival of H&M in Miami Beach, which sets out to restore the glamour of the 1930s building. The two-story store opens at noon Thursday with free giveaways and what is guaranteed to be long lines of excited consumers. Inside, they will find the type of chic, affordable fashion that is the trademark of the Swedish retailer, whose full name is Hennes & Mauritz.
Whether your style is trendy or more classic, there is something to mix and match at H&M. Prices range from under $5 for accessories to just under $100 for a wool coat but with the majority of the items priced below $50.
Throughout the Miami Beach store there is plenty of burgundy — one of the hot colors for fall. It comes in everything from skinny jeans for men and women to a sleeveless leather peplum top, another popular style for the season.
In one of the store windows on Lincoln Road, you’ll find mannequins displaying long, lean silhouettes of black and winter white, designed to make a dramatic fashion statement. The other window pays homage to the theater’s past with a look reminiscent of The Great Gatsby era. Lead visual merchandiser Edwin Mercedes and the team have carried that 1930s retro feel throughout the merchandising of the new Miami Beach store.
South Florida Fashionistas like Carla Bell can’t wait.
“Miami is such a fashionable city, it’s a perfect fit,” said Bell, 42, who lives in Lauderhill and typically had to get her H&M fix while on vacation. “H&M is so good about being contemporary and on trend. You can pop in and pick up what’s now. It’s so affordable, you can wear it now and then move on to the next thing.”
After years of an H&M drought, fans like Bell will have double the fun. The Miami Beach opening will be followed by a second H&M store at Aventura Mall next month
These two stores are only the beginning of H&M’s expansion plans for South Florida. H&M’s North American President Daniel Kulle won’t discuss specifics but cites Florida and Texas as the company’s current top expansion priorities. The company opened its first store in Orlando in 2009 and will have nine in Florida by the end of the year.
“We have the resources to execute a lot of expansion,” Kulle said. “There are a lot of strong malls around Miami. We will take it mall by mall. We are more keen on having the right spot and the right quality than just having numbers.” Kulle said the company decided about seven years ago that Lincoln Road and Aventura Mall were its top expansion priorities in South Florida. H&M had to bide its time because the chain wasn’t willing to compromise just to get a store open, and 25,000-square-foot spaces in that prime real estate aren’t easy to find. H&M has only been in the U.S. since 2000, but Miami Beach will be its 259th store.
“There have been opportunities along the way, but we wanted to find the one that was perfect,” Kulle said. “When you’re entering a new market you want to go to the best location.”
H&M won’t sell any different merchandise in Miami Beach than it does in Minnesota. Kulle says the company has not had any issues in any other warm weather markets, including Arizona, California and Las Vegas.