Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Hundreds of fashion fans queue as H&M opens in Auckland

More than 1000 shoppers stormed international fashion store H&M as its first New Zealand outlet opened its doors this morning.

People queued at Auckland mall Sylvia Park from 5pm on Friday to be among the first inside the 2,300 square metre flagship shop, which spans two levels.

The hype outside the store began at 7.00am when H&M served coffee, juice and crumpets to the waiting punters while exclusive gift bags were given to those excited fans who were first in line.

Kiwi DJs, Clint Roberts, Aroha Harawira and Tim Lambourne, pumped up the crowd ahead of the official opening celebration, followed by H&M staff performing a team dance to add to the electric atmosphere.

H&M's Australian and New Zealand Country Manager, Hans Andersson, New Zealand Sales Manager, Daniel Lettemann and Store Manager, Mino Kim, officially cut the ribbon and welcomed the first eager shoppers at the 10am opening.

"We have been waiting for this day for a long time now and the response from the Kiwi public was worth the wait," Andersson said. "I am proud to welcome shoppers to our very first store and we are pleased to be able to offer our customers added value through fashion, quality and sustainability at the best price."

Niki Chawala, 19, from Blockhouse Bay, queued outside from 1am.

"I got had no sleep but had plenty of music and food," she said. "I love the H&M collection and I'm so excited it has come here.

"I haven't set a budget but I'm going to shop till I drop."

Hanna Holmstrom, 21, and her friend Clara Ekmam, 20, were among the first to leave the store clutching bags crammed with purchases. They had queued since 6am.

Holmstrom, originally from Sweden, snapped up a pair of jeans, a dress and two tops for $113.

"The clothes are great value and I'm really happy with what I bought," she said.

Ekmam said she used to shop at H&M when she lived in Sweden.

"I have always liked their stuff and I'm really glad they have come to New Zealand.

"The atmosphere at the opening was crazy. It was like a big party. I loved it and I love the shop. I will be back."

* The H&M New Zealand store's regular opening hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9.00am-7.00pm, Thursday-Friday 9.00am-9.00pm, and Saturday-Sunday 9.00am-7.00pm.

- Herald on Sunday

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