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Running into a Midtown H&M during your work lunch break is always a gamble. You never know what you’re up against terms of crowds or lines for the fitting rooms and checkout (hello, tourists). Factor in that the six locations that can be considered “midtown” are merchandised totally differently, and you might be scrambling around looking for That One Top you saw last time you shopped for way too long.
In short, not all stores are created equal — so which one’s the best? We recent went to all six to find out.
Not unlike our Zara research, how we determined which location is the easiest to shop during a lunch break was wholly unscientific, based on criteria like: How easy it to get to? How big is the store? Is it easy to move around? How are the crowds? How long will you have to wait to check out? And most importantly: Is it possible to get in and out in under an hour?
After each visit (exact times noted below the address) we gave each H&M a shoppability ranking on a scale of one to five shopping bags, with five being the best and one being the worst. It’s worth noting that most of what affects the perception of which store is “the best” — like what time of day you’re there, and whether it’s a weekday or weekend — are all at play here.
Below, a deep dive into all of the midtown’s H&M stores, and the final verdict.
Herald Square, 435 Seventh Avenue
Visited: Tuesday, July 26th, 10:13am
Channing: Everything in the front of the store is super small. Who is wearing such tiny clothing?? Actually, don’t answer that — it’ll just make me feel old.
Kiara: The tops in the entrance were too cheese, like they were created by a meme-generator.
Channing: Upstairs is definitely more my speed. There were options for work and play that didn’t scream “I get dressed strictly for Snapchat!” Coincidentally, the right-hand corner of this floor has the most expensive pieces in the store.
Kiara: I appreciate that the ‘Night on the Town’ collection was merchandised neatly and looks more expensive than it actually is.
Channing: Because things were so calm, I could have grabbed something to try on and checked out within 20 minutes.
SHOPPABILITY: Four out of five shopping bags.
Herald Square, 1293 Broadway
Visited: Tuesday, July 26th, 10:40am
Kiara: This location is like shopping with a friend who knows their runway labels and looks. Key items like bombers, work essentials, and muted basics are organized in a way that makes shopping quick and painless.
Channing: Definitely. The way this store is situated makes me think the first floor is for the person on-the-go — “here are the trends to pay attention to, style them this way, and these are the accessories to match.” The second floor, with its lingerie lounge and shoe salon, are strictly for leisure shopping. And don’t even get me started on the home goods department on the third floor! Now I want to reorganize my apartment.
SHOPPABILITY: Five out of five shopping bags.
Times Square, 1472 Broadway
Visited: Tuesday, July 26th, 11:08am
Channing: I hate Times Square. I hate walking in Times Square. I just hate it all.
Kiara: The first 30 seconds were overwhelming between cluttered racks, spinning lights, and Fetty Wap’s “Rewind” blasting through the stereo. I wouldn’t attempt the first floor, but the best stuff is sectioned in front of the second floor’s escalator.
Channing: This store is just a lot. There was no clear path to the cash registers or the fitting rooms, and I can imagine during peak shopping times that this store is a nightmare. Actually, I know this to be true firsthand.
SHOPPABILITY: One of five shopping bags.
Midtown, 589 Fifth Avenue
Visited: Tuesday, July 26th, 11:37am
Channing: This location is a whopping five stories and advertises a personal shopping program, but I still won’t shop here. I felt like I was going to bump my head on the ceiling, and I’m 4’11!
Kiara: Way too condensed! The dedicated sale section is a nice touch, though.
Channing: I expected to see more professional-looking pieces, considering the area, and there aren’t enough fitting rooms for the amount of merchandise (and floors) — so good luck trying to run in and try something on quickly.
SHOPPABILITY: Two out of five shopping bags.
Columbus Circle, 10 Columbus Circle
Visited: Tuesday, July 26th, 12:10pm
Channing: The Shops at Columbus Circle is the closest to a mall I’ve come in a long time. I like the soothing music playing on the escalators.
Kiara: Because it feels like a mall, taking the time to dig through the racks isn’t as aggravating. It’s like time slows down.
Channing: You can definitely quickly stop into this store for accessories or a piece to switch up your look in a pinch. But I’m starting to get H&M fatigue now — if I see another #squadgoals T-shirt, I’m going to scream.
SHOPPABILITY: Three out of five shopping bags.
Midtown East, 731 Lexington Avenue
Visited: Tuesday, July 26th, 12:43pm
Channing: I was surprised that there weren’t more tourists shopping, or just more people in general, considering we stopped in during real lunch time. That kept the store relatively clean.
Kiara: This location’s appearance looks older. Of course, the merchandise is the same, but don’t expect styled outfits. The only bonus that jewelry is right near the cash register.
Channing: The items that other stores were displaying as the ones to pay attention to are all in the right-hand corner of the store when you first walk in, so I’d start there.
SHOPPABILITY: Three out of five shopping bags.
Herald Square’s H&M on Broadway is hands-down worth speed walking past all those tourists for. Even if you typically shy away from fast fashion, the store’s easy-to-shop layout lets you get in and out on your lunch break with a full shopping bag, and maybe even some time left to eat.