- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2006

H&M; has opened its 10th location in the Washington area and has plans for more locations at shopping centers and on-street shops.

The store opened a location at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax late last month.

“Everything to the west of D.C. is where the growth and the income is,” said Michael Oliverio, director of real estate at H&M.; “That [Interstate] 66 corridor is very strong for us.”

H&M; has ground-floor, on-street locations on M Street in Georgetown and in the Woodie’s building on F Street downtown and is looking for more locations here.

“We have just the two [on-street locations] and I believe there are more good opportunities for us, especially on the streets,” he said.

H&M;, which brings in low-price clothing with quick turnover to keep up with ever-changing trends, says it is targeting the D.C. area in part for its fashion sense. Some might argue that the D.C. fashion scene is far more conservative than in cities such as New York and Los Angeles.

“We like the fashion sense [in Washington],” said Lisa Sandberg, an H&M; spokeswoman. “That’s something you can’t always find in every market. … The D.C. market is, given the success we’ve had already with nine other stores, still an area for growth.”

The Fair Oaks location combined nine existing storefronts and has more interior walls to divide sections than most other H & M locations.

“Shoppers were seeking more clarity in the stores,” Ms. Sandberg said.

The 20,000-square-foot store carries clothes for men, women and teens.

The store is the company’s 95th in the United States. H&M; hopes to increase its U.S. business another 15 percent this year.

Got groceries?

Two grocery chains made headway in the D.C. area with new-store announcements last week, while a third chain opened its second renovated store here.

My Organic Market, or MOM’s, a chain selling organic groceries, signed a lease last week for a location at Route 1 and Route 175 in Columbia, Md. The 8,000-square-foot store is scheduled to open later this year.

Wegmans Food Markets signed leases for its second and third stores in Maryland. The stores are at the Village at Waugh Chapel, a shopping center on Route 301 in Anne Arundel County, and at Woodmore Towne Centre at Route 202 and the Capital Beltway in Prince George’s County.

Safeway opened its second “Lifestyle” store last week. The store, on 14th Street Southeast, is the company’s second remodeling project in the area. The Lifestyle stores incorporate mahogany wood, halogen lighting, a Starbucks kiosk and prepared-meal bar. All of the company’s 1,800 stores eventually will be remodeled in the new format, which was designed to compete with upscale markets such as Whole Foods.

In other news …

• Visit Fairfax, a nonprofit group promoting the county as a tourist destination, began a virtual treasure hunt Thursday showcasing county attractions such as Mount Vernon and the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The prize, to be awarded this summer, is an Infiniti FX35 sport utility vehicle. Visit www.fxva.com for game details.

• Retail & Hospitality appears Mondays. Contact Jen Haberkorn at jhaberkorn@washingtontimes.com or call 202/636-4836.

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