The wait for cool clothes at prices that won't burn a hole in your wallet ended Thursday, when Swedish retailer H&M opened a store at Vintage Faire Mall.
Offering trendy styles at affordable prices, H&M has captured shoppers' hearts across the globe, with stores from Japan to Belgium. Before the Vintage Faire location opened, the closest H&M stores to Modesto were in San Francisco.
The reception among Modesto shoppers seemed warm Thursday afternoon. Cries of "That's really cute!" and "I like this!" could be heard as Top 40 music thumped on the store speakers.
To lure customers who might not be familiar with H&M, the store is offering special deals in every department through the weekend. Men's dress shirts that usually sell for $29.95 are on sale for $10.
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Sisters Theresa and Tiffany St. Jean said the rock-bottom prices caught their attention. Theresa St. Jean was about to use a store coupon to buy a $12 pair of sneakers for $2.
Tiffany St. Jean said she'd been shopping at Vintage Faire Mall since
10 a.m. but hadn't found anything that fit her budget until she walked into H&M.
"I think it's a good store for Modesto," Tiffany St. Jean said. "A lot of stores here are overpriced. Because of how the economy is, people are looking for cheap."
The St. Jean sisters said H&M seemed to have better prices than Forever 21, the fashion-forward store that recently took over the former Gottschalks space at Vintage Faire.
"We really pride ourselves on giving fashion and quality at the best price," said H&M District Manager Larry Kwan.
H&M should appeal to Modesto shoppers in particular because its fashions are geared toward the entire family, Kwan said. The store sells baby clothes and maternity wear, as well as duds for teens, men and women.
Customers in the store Thursday ranged from moms pushing strollers to seniors pushing walkers. Racks offered glitzy dresses suitable for holiday parties as well as jeans and plaid flannel shirts.
Diane Sciaroni, 56, said she had researched H&M online when she heard the store was coming to Modesto. She was impressed with what she saw during her first visit.
"The store is nice. You can find things easily and there are styles here that aren't repeated all over the mall," Sciaroni said.
The store brings in new styles each week to stay on top of trends, Kwan said. Pop singer Madonna and fashion designer Stella McCartney have created lines for H&M. This weekend, H&M will unveil shoe legend Jimmy Choo's first apparel line at select stores, including in San Francisco.
Fashion isn't the only thing H&M is bringing to Modesto. The store is employing 40 people, Kwan said, and likely will hire more over the holidays. Job seekers can fill out applications on the H&M Web site, www.hm.com.