Coral Ridge Mall is adding an H&M

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An H&M window display is arranged in Washington D.C. — Elvert Barnes/Flickr

While it’s not the strongest era for brick-and-mortar shopping centers (including in eastern Iowa), Coralville’s Coral Ridge Mall is adding a new store to its ranks.

H&M will open in the current Eddie Bauer space, near the center of the mall and across from Bath & Body Works, according to Coral Ridge Mall’s senior general manager Monica Nadeau. Eddie Bauer will relocate across the hall, next to Sephora, in April, and the H&M is expected to open in fall.

The new store will serve as “a one-stop shopping destination for quality clothing for the whole family, with collections for ladies, men and teens, as well as separate ‘store within a store’ sections for accessories,” reads a press release from H&M. “The Coral Ridge Mall location will also carry the H&M Kids collection for newborns to 14 year olds.”

There are 4,500 H&Ms around the world, but this will be only the second location in Iowa. Davenport’s NorthPark Mall opened one in 2018.

The Sweden-based H&M, short for Hennes and Mauritz, is one of the largest clothing retailers in the world, and a purveyor of fast fashion — clothes and accessories manufactured and sold relatively quickly and inexpensively. This allows budget-conscious shoppers to hop on the latest fashion trends, but also leads to garments being discarded after just a few wears and washes, creating an environmental disaster.

While fast-fashion brands once dominated the market, American consumers have appeared to be pushing back on the business model. Forever 21, for example, filed for bankruptcy last year; locations around the world, including the store in Coral Ridge Mall, are expected to close.

H&M has publicly recognized the unsustainability of its industry, and pledged to become 100 percent “climate positive” by 2040 through the use of renewable energy and recyclable materials — moves that received tempered praise from ethical fashion industry watchdogs. The company began investing in a program to divert textiles from landfills in 2013.

Coralville’s H&M will likely have a 20-employee staff, and will begin hiring approximately a month before its opening. In the meantime, Coral Ridge Mall’s American Eagle will reopen Saturday after a remodel, and Tuesday Morning will debut next to PetSmart at the end of February, Nadeau said.

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