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H&M to open Carolina Place store

Another one of Charlotte’s most-requested retailers is coming to the region: H&M plans to open a store in Pineville this fall, at Carolina Place mall.

The store will be the retailer’s first in the Charlotte market. Local fans of the fast-fashion apparel store have watched as the company opened Raleigh and Winston-Salem locations over the past few years.

Carolina Place marketing director Scott Anderson said H&M was the most-requested store at the mall.

“It’s exciting,” Anderson said. “The last two years, you’re always getting questions – ‘You guys need an H&M. When’s an H&M coming?’ ”

Anderson said discussions with H&M have been going on for several years as the mall tried to sign the retailer. “We’ve been working with them for a while trying to get that together,” he said.

The H&M store at Carolina Place will be 17,000 square feet, located on the mall’s upper level next to the Hollister store. An exact date for the opening hasn’t been set, and Anderson said that would depend on H&M’s construction schedule.

H&M joins a list of high-profile retailers with loyal followings that have opened new locations in Charlotte over the past few years, including Ikea, Publix and Whole Foods.

An H&M spokeswoman didn’t return a message seeking more information about the store. The company’s announcement of the new location said the H&M will include men, women’s and children’s clothing, along with “store within store” areas for accessories and lingerie.

H&M has made a name for itself as one of the world’s largest clothing retailers by selling low-priced clothes with inventory that changes rapidly. The company has 2,800 stores worldwide, including 268 in the U.S.

The company has become involved in the controversy surrounding apparel sourcing from countries such as Bangladesh.

H&M buys many of its clothes from factories there, but the company said none of its clothing was produced at the Rana Plaza store that collapsed and killed more than 1,100 workers in April.

H&M signed a pledge two weeks ago to seek tougher safety measures in Bangladesh regarding factory fires and collapses.

But problems persist: Earlier this week, two dozen people were injured in a Cambodian factory that collapsed. H&M garments were made there, although the company said the factory was subcontracted to produce them without H&M’s permission.

Carolina Place is owned and operated by General Growth Properties. The 1.16-million square foot mall had a 97 percent lease rate in the first quarter, according to GGP’s financial reports.

Portillo: 704-358-5041;Twitter: @ESPortillo
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