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H&M to Open Women-Only Store

When Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz opens its first store in Saudi Arabia later this year, it will be an innovator.

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PARIS — When Sweden's Hennes & Mauritz opens its first store in Saudi Arabia later this year, it will be an innovator.

The fast-fashion chain will inaugurate what is billed as the desert kingdom's first store operated by women for women-only shoppers in a so-called family mall.

Known for legislation that limits the interaction of men and women, Saudi Arabia already operates women-only malls staffed by women for female shoppers. But in its so-called family malls, which are open to both women and men, typically only men work in the boutiques.

Expected to open this fall, the women-only unit is being billed as a "beauty" store that will stock lingerie, accessories and beauty products. The 1,300-square-foot unit will be adjacent to a 130,000-square-foot H&M fashion store that will carry both men's and women's clothes.

The larger unit, which is the first of three H&M stores scheduled to open in the kingdom under a franchise agreement with Kuwait's Alshaya Group, will be staffed only by men.

Both stores will be located in the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah.

H&M also is working with Alshaya to open franchise operations in Oman, Bahrain and Egypt. Alshaya already operates H&M stores in Dubai and Kuwait.