Dimond Center plans renovation to accommodate fashion store H&M

Nathaniel Herz
Wikimedia Commons

The Dimond Center mall is asking the city's approval for a $4.2 million renovation project that would house a 30,000-square-foot outpost of the global discount fashion store H&M.

The store would occupy two floors in the South Anchorage mall's southeast corner, connected by an escalator, according to an application submitted to the city's planning department.

The application calls for an "extensive exterior and interior renovation" of the mall in the area of the new store, with one of the goals being to replace a section ofthe Dimond Center's "impenetrable" concrete wall with transparent, energy-efficient glass.

The city's Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the application at its meeting Monday. The mall's application does not include an estimated completion date for the project.

H&M did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A woman who answered the phone at the Dimond Center's marketing office said officials there declined to comment.

H&M first opened in Sweden in 1947 as a women's clothing store called Hennes. Two decades later, founder Erling Persson bought a hunting and fishing store called Mauritz Widforss, and the name changed to Hennes & Mauritz. Today, the chain claims 3,200 stores in 54 countries, from Oman to Indonesia to Australia.

Its website lists 317 stores in the United States, including one in Hawaii -- but none in Alaska.

The opening of a new H&M store at the Dimond Center would solidify that mall's hold on younger clothing shoppers, said Linda Boggs, the marketing director for the company that owns The Mall at Sears in Midtown.

The Dimond Center, she said, already boasts an Old Navy and a Forever 21.

"It'll just make Dimond stronger in that demographic," Boggs said, though she added that one open question is how a new H&M would affect the existing stores: "They may cannibalize each other -- you have to wonder if the market is big enough to support that many stores aimed at the same niche. But we'll see."

Reach Nathaniel Herz at nherz@adn.com or 257-4311.