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Crowds eager to sample H&M's selections at Tampa's International Plaza

Nabilla Abreu, 22, of Brandon reads Breaking Dawn Thursday morning while waiting near the front of the line for the new H&M clothing store to open at International Plaza in Tampa. She got in line at 5 a.m. Thursday and skipped school to be at the opening. The first person in line arrived at 11 p.m. Wednesday night.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Nabilla Abreu, 22, of Brandon reads Breaking Dawn Thursday morning while waiting near the front of the line for the new H&M clothing store to open at International Plaza in Tampa. She got in line at 5 a.m. Thursday and skipped school to be at the opening. The first person in line arrived at 11 p.m. Wednesday night.

Lured by discount coupons, some eager young fashionistas camped out overnight in their cars so they could be among the first to shop the Tampa Bay area's first H&M store Thursday.

By 11:30 a.m., 450 people had formed a line outside the store, located on the lower level of International Plaza in Tampa.

The sprawling discount apparel hub opened at noon in space once occupied by five retailers. It becomes the fifth Florida outlet for the Swedish chain, which has 2,200 stores around the world selling its trendy men's, women's, maternity and kids' clothing. Prices range from $10 knits to $80 pea coats.

First in line was Jose Rick, a USF premed student who got a $75 coupon. He said would buy a T-shirt, shoes and jeans.

"It's really great. They're bringing affordable style for a new generation,'' he said.

The store's staff of 40 turned the opening into a high-energy party with dancers, cheers and a DJ spinning rap music. On Friday, mall officials expect an even larger crowd because it is Veterans' Day and schools are out.

Crowds eager to sample H&M's selections at Tampa's International Plaza 11/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 10, 2011 6:11pm]
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