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This article was published 10/9/2014 (1073 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Mallory Apter wasn't going to let something silly like an anatomy test -- or sleep -- get in the way of her fashion needs Wednesday morning.
The student at the Massage Therapy College of Manitoba arrived at Polo Park shopping centre at 6:15 a.m. and snagged the much-coveted first spot in line outside the new H&M store just a few minutes later.
'This is one of our best-received openings. People have a pent-up demand for the H&M brand. Considering it's a weekday, I think a lot of people are either missing work or school today'-- Deborah Green, manager of Polo Park shopping centre
"I didn't run but I did speed walk because I was so excited," Apter said. "H&M is H&M. It's not another store. The quality of the clothing for the price and style is so worth it to me."
She even pulled out her textbook and did some studying amid the mayhem as more than 600 people lined up outside the store, snaking back toward Hudson's Bay and back down to Sears at the south end of the mall.
If you think the shoppers were crazy, you can hardly blame them. A DJ was spinning tunes all morning long, and more than 50 H&M employees came to the store entrance just before the ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m. and jacked the crowd up to a fever pitch by dancing en masse, running up and down the mall and starting the wave.
'H&M is H&M. It's not another store. The quality of the clothing for the price and style is so worth it to me'-- Mallory Apter, who skipped sleep and an anatomy test to be first in line for the H&M opening
Deborah Green, general manager of Winnipeg's biggest mall, said only a couple of store openings could rival H&M's -- Apple, Victoria's Secret and Forever 21.
"This is one of our best-received openings. People have a pent-up demand for the H&M brand. Considering it's a weekday, I think a lot of people are either missing work or school today. The excitement will build through the weekend when everybody has the whole day off to come shopping," she said.
One person who is used to such chaos is Toni Galli, vice-president of H&M Canada. She said second and third stores in a city often get a similar reception. Top-quality fashion at the best price from the Swedish-based retailer is what gets them all excited, she said.
"We have a worldwide reputation with all of our stores. People expect it's going to be something great. We're very democratic. We have something for everyone. We're a family store: ladies, men and kids," she said.
H&M isn't going to be satisfied with one store in Winnipeg, either. Galli said it will look at getting into other malls, particularly St. Vital Centre, to boost its Canadian complement of 67 stores.
"We don't have anything right now, but we want to open more than one store in this market for sure," she said.
Winnipeggers are renowned for jumping all over new-to-market retailers.
Perhaps the most dedication we'll ever see was prior to the November 2012 opening of IKEA's location, when hundreds of furniture-mad people prepared to camp out overnight in frigid temperatures. IKEA staff ultimately took pity on them and let them sleep inside the store's front doors.