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LAist Lands Exclusive Interview with H&M PR-Bot 2000
Offering low-cost clothing to slim-hipped wastrels isn't easy, and Swedish clothing chain H&M strives to stay on the cutting-edge of cutting costs. Competing in a cutthroat global marketplace, the company has found that budgetary consciousness doesn't only apply to the factory floor, it can extend to the highest reaches of the corporate machine thanks to the advances of the computer age. To that end H&M is the first major retailer to deploy the PR-Bot 2000, a "public relations solution" that uses sophisticated computer technology to mimic the interaction of a live “human” publicist. What was once science fiction is now science fact.
"The PR-Bot 2000 combines cutting-edge technology in artificial intelligence with leading advances in robotics to create the ultimate public relations solution," says Gunter Frischberssen, President and CEO of PR Robotics, Inc. "The PR-Bot 2000 is an effective and affordable public relations tool for corporations, retailers, manufacturers and small businesses.”
While H&M is an early adopter of the PR-Bot 2000, other companies are expected to follow suit. Shares of PR Robotics were trading up 2 3/4 on the announcement.
"The publicist’s expensed three-martini lunch is a thing of the past,” says leading industry analyst Mulroy Dean. While detractors have claimed that the PR-Bot is further evidence of publicity-speak gone awry, Dean asserts, “Most people will never be able to tell the difference between a robotic publicist and a real human.” Voight-Kampff testing later revealed Dean himself to be a PR-Bot.
Below is an unedited transcript of LAist’s interview with the PR-Bot 2000 on the subject of H&M’s opening a new store in Pasadena.
Why did it take so long to open an H&M in Los Angeles?
"Finding the best store locations has been key to our expansion in the U.S. We are proud to open our first Southern California store in Pasadena, where retail space is coveted and rarely made available."
Why open an H&M in San Francisco before opening an H&M in Los Angeles?
"H&M is working to bring the latest styles and trends to everyone everywhere by opening more stores in markets we believe in. The San Francisco stores were a great place to introduce the H&M brand to the community and create buzz in California. Building on the success of our stores in Northern California, H&M is excited to make our fashions available to Southern Californians by opening our first store in Pasadena."
Why did H&M decide to open the store in Pasadena before the store in the Beverly Center? Was it strictly logistical reasons or was it a strategic marketing move?
"H&M strives to find the best locations for its stores and bring its customers the fashions they want as soon as possible. As with all real estate deals there are some logistical aspects to it and H&M is confident that our Pasadena store is a great way to introduce our brand to the Los Angeles market."
"The Colorado Blvd. store, located in the heart of Old Pasadena's retail, restaurant and entertainment strip, was a fantastic opportunity for H&M to open in a great location. H&M is proud to be part of the site's recent renovation. The Pasadena store is conveniently located near parking facilities and public transportation, making it easily accessible for our customers. The Old Pasadena area draws an exciting mix of people that H&M is confident will enjoy the store."
When do you expect the store in the Beverly Center to open?
"The Beverly Center Store is set to open on October 26th at noon."
How aware do you think Los Angeles residents are of the H&M brand?
"We believe that the people of Los Angeles are global-minded, well traveled individuals. We anticipate that many Angelenos will already be familiar with our high quality, couture-inspired fashions at the best price. Also, we have been told for many years that H&M is one of the most requested brands at the trendy and popular Beverly Center. The three new H&M's will finally allow the people of the greater Los Angeles area the chance to find fashion pieces and extensive collections at the best price."
To what extent does H&M tailor the stock in each store to reflect the population of that city or area? Aside from the fact that it's much warmer in Los Angeles how if at all does H&M plan to differentiate the clothes they offer here from the clothes they offer in New York and/or San Francisco?
"Since H&M is a global fashion brand and appeals to a global customer, from Lyon to Los Angeles, the majority of what you will find in stores from Lyon to Los Angeles is the same. There is approximately a 15% flexibility in the lines available due to climate, store size and demographics of the market. The Pasadena store will carry high quality, affordable fashions for ladies, young ladies as well as house a lingerie line and trend concepts."
Why is the Pasadena store not carrying men's clothes? And will the H&M in the Beverly Center carry men's clothes?
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H&M seems to be the only big-box clothing retailer that actually cuts clothes to the appropriate size. Why do you hate the fatties in middle America?
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Is size 6 the new size 12?
Beep... Beep... Beep... As one of today's leading public relations solutions the PR-Bot 2000 is deeply concerned about your public relations needs. We apologize that we cannot accommodate your needs at this time due to a major equipment malfunction. Please try back in the future.
Photos by Bjorn Thoresen. Tech support provided by Serena Lin.
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