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Wendy Reuer, Published September 21 2012

TRADE TALK: Shoppers want H&M at West Acres

When Ritz Camera announced last week it would close its store at the West Acres mall, there was a Facebook call-out asking shoppers what they would like to see fill the spot.

The overwhelming majority want the popular H&M to scoot on in where the 20-year-old photo shop used to be.

The Swedish H&M is as popular for its low prices as it is for its high fashion in stock for women, men and kids.

Unfortunately, West Acres Marketing Director Alissa Sorum confirmed the space is too small for H&M to consider.

“They would need approximately 20,000 square feet, and we currently don’t have that amount of space available,” Sorum stated in an email.

But H&M fans, don’t despair quite yet: Sorum said the mall and business have been in talks before, and H&M has expressed interest in moving to West Acres.

Calls to multiple H&M officials in the U.S. went unreturned this week, but the company’s corporate growth plan states H&M’s goal is to grow stores by 10 to 15 percent each year with the majority of new stores in 2012 opening in U.S. and China.

The first store opened in 1947 in Sweden and the first U.S. store opened on Fifth Avenue in New York in 2000. There are now 239 stores in the United States.

The company states its growth plan requires locales to have a demographic similar to target consumers. Considering the metro’s diverse demographic of academia, industry and culture, Fargo may soon see the H&M store it’s been hoping for.

“We both agree that we are a great fit for each other,” Sorum said. “It’s a matter of timing. When the space becomes available, they are a definite possibility.”

More than 530 people voiced their opinion on the West Acres Facebook site. Popular requests included a Home Goods store, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and/or Urban Outfitters.

“We were thrilled with the response that we received from our Facebook fans,” Sorum said.

Goodwill sales going on

Shoppers can find deals on clothing in the region, especially while the popular “Goodwill Sale” continues at local Herberger’s stores.

During the semi-annual Goodwill sale that runs through next Saturday, shoppers can donate gently used clothing at the Fargo and Moorhead Herberger’s locations. In return, they receive a coupon for 20 percent off. While Herberger’s stores often have sales throughout the year, the Goodwill sale is one of the few, if only, sale where coupons can be used on cosmetics, fragrances and electronics.

“Our goal is to collect more than 6.5 million pounds of gently used clothing and textiles to donate to Goodwill to assist people who face challenges to finding employment in neighboring communities where Bon-Ton stores are present,” said Brendan Hoffman, president and chief executive officer of The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.,

Bon-Ton is the parent company of Herberger’s. “This is our customer’s favorite sale because it gives them an opportunity to donate and support an amazing organization, and get special deals on new fall merchandise.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530