Traders' warm welcome for fashion giant

FASHION giant H&M has opened at the N1 Centre – taking on a massive store that had lain empty for months. More than 250 shoppers were queuing outside in anticipation when the high street favourite opened its doors at midday last Thursday – and business ha

FASHION giant H&M has opened at the N1 Centre - taking on a massive store that had lain empty for months.

More than 250 shoppers were queuing outside in anticipation when the high street favourite opened its doors at midday last Thursday - and business has been strong since.

H&M's arrival cements the N1 Centre, in Parkfield Street, Islington, as the borough's number-one place for clothes shopping.

It has been welcomed by local traders who hope it will boost business in the area.


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David Twydell, chairman of the Chapel Market Stallholders' Association, was particularly pleased to see the arrival of a reasonably-priced store rather than a high-end outlet.

He said: "It's the kind of shop that we want. It doesn't challenge people's pockets too much. It's not another yuppie shop - and it's nice not to have an empty shop any more.

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"But I would still have liked to have seen a Woolworths there instead. We still need shops in the area that sell the basics - cheap and cheerful shops where you can pick up anything."

The 1,700 square metre store, the N1 Centre's prime location, had been empty since Borders closed on December 22 last year, a month after Borders UK went into administration and seven years after it opened in 2002.

In July 2008, Woolworths in nearby Liverpool Road also closed down, to be replaced by a Waitrose almost a year later.

Lynne Glover, manager of the N1 Centre, is thrilled that H&M has opened its doors - allowing the centre to finally cater for a teenage market as well as for older shoppers.

She said: "It's our anchor store so we are pleased that it's no longer empty. It's never nice to have a big store shut.

"H&M cements the N1 Centre as somewhere to come for clothes. I think it completes the centre." H&M, which is employing 30 people in Islington, opened its first store in the UK in 1976 and currently has 170 branches in the UK.

Francois Chiaberto, store manager of H&M in Islington, said: "Islington really couldn't have given us a warmer welcome and we are delighted by the reaction and feedback we have had to our arrival.

"We had such a warm welcome from local residents when we opened last Thursday, with around 250 people waiting in line when we opened the doors. The crowds continued over the opening weekend.

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