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H&M store on Chestnut Street in Philly is closing

H&M is pulling back from Center City and focusing on the Fashion District on Market Street.

The H&M store on Chestnut Street will close in January.
The H&M store on Chestnut Street will close in January.Read moreTyger Williams / Staff Photographer

The Swedish clothing retailer H&M will be further shrinking its Center City footprint next year, shuttering its operation at 1530 Chestnut St.

H&M’s media representatives did not confirm the exact date of closure, but multiple store employees told The Inquirer that the Chestnut Street location would close Jan. 4.

The closure of the two-story, 25,000-square-foot retail space marks the second phase of the brand’s retreat from Center City. Early in the pandemic, in spring 2020, H&M closed its 1725 Walnut St. store. That space has since been taken over by the Canadian fashion brand Aritzia.

“We can confirm this location will be closing in the near future,” an H&M spokesperson said in an email message. “While physical stores will always remain important to us and something we continue to invest in, having the right stores in the right locations is vital to ensure our long-term and sustainable growth.”

“We are marketing the space and are in talks with replacement tenants already,” said Jacob Cooper, managing director at MSC, the commercial brokerage firm handling the space. “We are focusing more on entertainment and food and beverage.”

H&M’s last remaining store in Center City is in the Fashion District, the indoor mall on East Market Street that opened right before the pandemic and could give up half its bulk if a proposed 76ers basketball stadium is built.

Employees at the Fashion District location said that H&M would try to find jobs for workers from the Chestnut Street location, but that there are no plans to expand the current store. The employees did not give their names because they said H&M forbids them from talking to the media.

“It’s positive for Market Street East” that H&M decided to focus its Philadelphia presence there, said Larry Steinberg, a commercial leasing agent with Colliers. “You don’t hear much else about Market Street East, to tell you the truth, unless it revolves around the stadium issue.”

Before the pandemic, Steinberg connected H&M with its locations on Walnut and Chestnut, Philadelphia’s premiere shopping destinations. He says that the below-market rents at the Fashion District were used to attract tenants and were well under what the company was paying on the west side of Market Street.

The move comes amid a larger reshuffling of Center City retail, as brands such as Wawa, Rite Aid, and Starbucks have retrenched, citing concerns about vagrancy and safety. (There is no indication such matters came into H&M’s calculations.) By all accounts, the sales for these companies’ downtown locations have been robust. On many of downtown’s premiere streets, including Avenue of the Arts, 13th Street, and Chestnut Street, landlords are not having trouble finding tenants.

“This was anticipated for quite some time,” said Cooper, who dismissed the notion that H&M leaving its Chestnut Street location was indicative of any larger trend.