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Morning Crowds Turn Out to Toast H&M's Soho Rebirth

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At 10am, H&M will reveal shiny new renovations on both of its Soho stores. To celebrate, they're giving gift cards (worth anywhere from $10 to $300) and t-shirts to the first 200 people in line at each location. Below, Fawnia Soo Hoo reports live from the scene.

The Prince Street line at 9:09am

9:09am: I just arrived at the H&M on Broadway and Prince Street to find a healthy line wrapping around Prince. On to the location near Spring...

9:15am: One security guard (there are lots of them) estimates that the line still has less than 200 people. The first to arrive started camping out at 5:20am.

9:19am: OK, so I'm at the Broadway and Spring H&M and the line seems to be around the same size as the other. A few kids must have camped out here, too, since they have folding chairs. One lady has a granny cart—guess she's banking on that $300 gift certificate.

9:22am: I asked the guard what the difference is between the two lines, and he said he thinks the one at Spring is bigger. Given the iPhone black hole on the Prince side of Broadway, I think I'm going to wait over here.

The Spring Street line around 9:25am

9:28am: We just moved up! Wonder if they're opening early.

9:29am: Damn. False alarm.

9:30am: A security staffer just clarified that any gift certificates must be used today Unrelated but important: He is totally rocking leather detailing on the collar of his suit jacket.

9:34am: Staffers are handing out H&M catalogs now, and they'll hand out certificates soon. The line keeps growing, and it might be the most random group I've ever waited with. Kids, college students, senior citizens with carts, a mom with a baby and a cart (at Prince), young professionals, tourists...

An "Access to Fashion" gift card

9:35am: Ooh! I got my scratch-off ticket! Such suspense—let's see what I get. I hear screams from the back of the line.

9:37am: I got $50! Usually I'm the one with the $10 card. The lady behind me got $25—ha!

9:40am: Staffers just handed out massive shopping bags to everyone in line. They're preparing for an onslaught. I wonder if anyone got $300. But $50 could go a long way at H&M....Meanwhile, serious screams are coming all the way from the other line. Someone must have hit the jackpot.

9:43am: Now they're handing out H&M-branded bottles of water.

9:48am: This line is pretty quiet for a freebie line. But it's also huge—it's almost at Broome. People seem very intense and ready to shop.

9:52am: A girl just walked by asking if this line was for a collaboration. She was in a panic thinking she missed the Lanvin launch.

9:53am: A girl carrying a Birkin just joined her friend in line. She can afford a Birkin but she's lining up for free H&M?

9:58am: Two more minutes. The intensity of these shoppers makes me suspect it'll be crazy inside. I think they just let the Prince Street people in—heard a collective yell.

9:59am: Yelling here and a countdown. From the security guard: "Oh shit!"

10:00am: I hear jubilant screams inside. And techno. In!

What you saw if you entered the store as one of the first 200

10:03: OK, the yelling was from the staffers, who cheered us on like we were at Trader Joe's. Off to explore—be back soon with the full report.


558 Broadway, New York NY