Retailer H&M rumors swirl in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — H&M, a trendy clothing retailer, could be shopping for a downtown Phoenix location.  On Monday, a Phoenix marketing company called Urban Affair emailed an online survey that asks downtown workers and residents about their shopping habits and their feelings about H& M.  Currently, there are no H&M stores in Arizona, but the firm plans to open a location at Scottsdale Quarter, $270 million development that will open at the end of March.  H&M has not announced an opening date for that store, a spokeswoman for the retailer said.

H&M has a strong following among the budget-conscious, fashionable set because it has low-priced, European-influenced style.  The retailer collaborates on product lines with upscale designers, including Stella McCartney and stars, such as Madonna.

An Urban Affair official downplayed the H&M aspect of Monday’s survey.  No developer asked the firm to do it, added Catrina Knoebl who co-founded Urban Affair.  “We did the survey to gauge support about downtown retail,” Knoebl said.

The survey doesn’t say where a downtown Phoenix H&M could be located.  However, an obvious choice would be the $900 million CityScape development, which is under construction in downtown Phoenix.  Through a spokeswoman, RED Development LLC declined to comment about H&M.  CityScape is bound by First Avenue, Second Street, Washington Street, and Jefferson Street.  The project broke ground in 2007 and crews are building a cluster of shops, offices and restaurants.

H&M has had a long flirtation with the Valley.  Before the Scottsdale Quarter announcement, there was talk about a possible H&M shop at Scottsdale Fashion Square and at Tempe Marketplace.  Neither shopping center has a store.  Generally speaking, H&M may decide to open other locations in the future to serve the Valley, H&M communications specialist Shaneika Haskins.  Haskins wouldn’t talk about the downtown Phoenix buzz. “We don’t comment on rumors,” she said.

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