H&M’s prices have locals guessing

Critics say store doesn’t intend to sell its clothing here as cheaply as it does at its European branches.

By BRIAN BLONDY
March 9, 2010 06:50
2 minute read.
H&M.

H&M 311. (photo credit: .)

The collective yearning, yelling and begging from the legions of Israeli women for a local H&M store will finally be over Thursday morning, as the Swedish-owned fashion house is scheduled to open their first store in Israel in Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Center.

But will the locals reap the same bargains from H&M here as they do abroad?

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Critics of H&M have said the store doesn’t intend to sell its clothing here as cheaply as it does at its European branches.

A quick glance at the well-designed Israeli product catalog reveals steep prices differences between here and Europe for the generally well-priced budget fashion.

The biggest differences are for the more expensive items. Men’s suits, women’s shoes and jackets will all be far more expensive in Israel than abroad. A fashion-conscious Israeli could expect to pay close to NIS 140 more for a higher-end article than it would cost in Europe.

Not all of the price differences are as pronounced. A simple white T-shirt is listed at NIS 29.90 here, compared to €4.95 in Europe – a 17 percent difference, at the rate of NIS 5.17 to €1.

On the other hand, there are deals to be found. A pair of women’s denim jeans cost NIS 200 here, compared to €39.99 in Europe – 2.5% cheaper than in Europe. Deals similar to this appear to be scattered throughout the store.

“The pricing is very similar to that of the chain’s outlets in Europe,” Larsen Ruiz, an international product manager for H&M, who is in Tel Aviv to help ready the store for its opening, said Monday. He declined to compare items or other branches.

To some, the pricing just might be fair enough regardless of the difference.

Rachel Brown, a recent immigrant from the United States, said she wasn’t troubled by the apparent price differences.

“I think the pricing is relative compared to abroad, since buying clothing in Israel is just more expensive in general,” she said. “Based on that, I think people here are already used to the prices being higher, because that what’s they are accustomed to and that’s what they already pay for jeans and clothing.”

H&M’s Tel Aviv branch hopes to slash into Castro’s market share. It is more than 2,000 square meters large and includes clothing and accessory departments for women, men and children.

H&M plans to open a store in Jerusalem next Tuesday and outlets in Haifa, Petah Tikva, Netanya and Rehovot in the not-too-distant future.


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