Hundreds of fashionistas across Singapore converged in Orchard Road on Saturday for the launch of Swedish retail giant H&M's official megastore.
At precisely 11am, the store threw its doors open to much applause and red-carpet fanfare from both the waiting crowd and the store's employees.
A queue of about 50 people had formed as early as Friday evening just outside Orchard Building in what used to be the former California Fitness Centre.
"I came here at 6pm yesterday and apparently I wasn't the first one here," said an enthusiastic 19-year-old shopper, Grace Loh. "Some of my friends actually waited here since 9am yesterday."
By mid-morning on Saturday, over a thousand people — mainly teens and those in their 20s — were seen milling outside the store, eager to snap up items from the debut of the store's Autumn/Winter 2011 collection.
The first five in the queue received S$250 gift cards while the next 300 to enter received S$20 gift cards.
Said Lex Keijser, country manager of H&M in Hong Kong, Greater China and Singapore, "We expected a lot of people but this is overwhelming."
"It's amazing — the crowd, people still waiting outside — and we hope we can get them in, all of them."
The brand's launch saw shoppers queuing all the way from Orchard Building to 313@Somerset throughout the day.
At 30,000 square feet and taking up all three levels of the building, the store's Singapore flagship branch is one of the biggest in Asia, on par with its other megastores in Hong Kong, Japan and Shanghai.
"Singapore is a fashion city," Keijser told Yahoo! Singapore. "And we know you have a lot of tourists here. We notice Singapore people — they love fashion. So we have to be here."
When asked why it took so long for the Swedish fashion giant to make its debut in Singapore, Keijser said, "It was not taking a long time for us... we think we're on time.
"Sorry... that you've been waiting so long. But we want to have the best building in Singapore, with the nicest collections, with the nicest interior, and we're here today."
Keijser added, "We have fashion and quality for the best price. And everyday, new fresh garments in."
Two lower floors of the megastore are dedicated to ladies fashion while men's & kids' fashion are located on Level 3.
"I like the concept of having it three levels, like Forever 21," said another shopper, Carissa Teo, 20, who spent S$170 on her first purchase.
"And I like it that it's quite organised, so you can really find your things well. And there's a wider range of accessories than in Hong Kong."
Known for its affordable yet stylish ladies and menswear, H&M took out major full-page advertisements in major newspapers and online media during the week. Its posters were seen plastered on billboards and bus stops all across town.
Fans can also expect a H&M and Versace collaboration in November this year as part of its yearly designer collaborations, which have proved to be instant hits.
H&M, short for Hennes and Mauritz, has some 2,300 stores in 41 countries.