The biggest news in fashion retail this year would have to be the arrival of H&M and Uniqlo in Australia. Both fashion giants opened their first stores in Melbourne and then come October, they both opened in Macquarie Centre in Sydney. This is a big deal in Australia, the same way when Zara and GAP came into our shores. Before these international brands came into view, shopping in Sydney seemed very laidback. I’ve had friends who visit Sydney find it odd that a first world country like Australia doesn’t have GAP, Zara, H&M and Uniqlo. That will change now as these brands plan to open more branches in key cities of Australia.
I’ve actively shared updates regarding the opening H&M and Uniqlo thru facebook and twitter. It’s not so much about shopping. It’s about having more fashion choices which are reasonably priced. It’s about making fashion retail in Australia more competitive–maybe bring Australian brands’ prices down (because some are just ridiculously expensive!). It’s about more jobs opening up for people to apply for. And personally, I wouldn’t have to shop too much in these stores when we travel (overweight baggage problems) or shop online (and figure out if they really fit me or not) because we have them here too. On the two occasions that we’ve been to visit, I found myself taking the shopping for granted because I know they’ll still be there when I come back…and if not, that’s fine too. They’ll have something else on offer when I come back in again so no worries for me.
The Husband and I have been to H&M and Uniqlo the following week they opened. We only spent about 15 minutes in each store and didn’t buy anything. We’re curious as to how the lay-out of the stores looked like and what clothes they have on offer. The second time we went was last week and we were with couple friends. It was a Thursday night so were were able to have a look around and pick up something we liked. Here’s what we think of these two new stores…
The shop has two levels, with an escalator and elevator inside. There were lots of clothes but it made little space for people to walk. I find it quite hard to look at clothes this way as I felt it was really cramped. They’ve got good clothes in store (better than the ones we saw in Japan in February). We found the clothes reasonably-priced; they got pricey ones and affordable ones. There’s a balance between classic and current styles so it’s possible you’ll find something you’d like. We noticed long queues in the fitting room areas and check-out counters while we were there.
I found the store small (only one floor) but spacious enough for people to walk and look at clothes comfortably. Their line of clothes weren’t complete but they’ve got the basics and current season clothes available in store. Navigating and finding the clothes is way easier than H&M. Prices are somehow comparable to other international Uniqlo branches, especially the ones on sale. It’s definitely still cheaper to shop in Japan but at least we don’t have to fly out of the country now just to buy them.
Something to look forward to in December: Forever 21.
According to a friend, there are currently a lot of people during weekends so if you want to shop comfortably, do it on weekdays for a better shopping experience.Tags: H&M, Uniqlo