H&M’s decision to double in size brings jobs boost and a vote of confidence in Hemel Hempstead

Work has already begun on the H&M site in Riverside Shopping Centre.
Work has already begun on the H&M site in Riverside Shopping Centre.

Hemel Hempstead’s town centre is set for a boost as fashion retailer H&M starts work on a refurbishment which will increase its size, and the number of jobs on offer, too.

The Swedish clothes brand, which stands for Hennes and Mauritz, is set to expand into the empty unit next door in Riverside Shopping Centre.

The space has been vacant since music and entertainment store HMV announced it was closing its doors in February, after the company went into administration.

The store’s management cannot say yet exactly how many job opportunities the move will create, but has confirmed at least five vacancies.

Leader of Dacorum Borough Council Andrew Williams said: “This is welcome news and I am pleased to see stores thriving in our town centre. We are committed to making improvements that will help it to evolve into a place that even more people choose to shop, work, visit and enjoy.

“We are putting in place improvements that will bring together the whole town centre, from the Plough roundabout, through Riverside, Marlowes and right through to the Old Town High Street, as a vibrant, prosperous and accessible area for shopping, working and leisure.”

Work has already begun on the store expansion, which also includes removing the existing glass canopies and extending the height of the store’s design.

Riverside manager David Robinson said: “We already have a great retail and leisure range but the added expansion of H&M should really allow us to prove to local residents that they have a great shopping destination on their doorstep and that they don’t need to travel to competing towns such as Watford for well-known brands.”

The new layout is expected to be launched at the end of September and the store will remain open throughout the refurbishment.