H&M takes over Benetton flagship store in Rome

Swedish low-cost clothing store H&M is to take the place of Benetton's flagship store on Via Tomacelli in central Rome, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Benetton, an Italian clothing brand with a global presence, has handed the keys of the historic building to the Swedish giant for a reported sale price of €180 million. The new store is expected to open later this year, marking the 108th H&M store to open in Italy since the firm's arrival in 2003.

Built in 1901, the ex-Unione Militare landmark building measures 6,000 sqm and recently received a modern twist with the addition of the rooftop "nuvola", a glass dome designed by prominent Rome architect Massimiliano Fuksas.

The retail landscape of Rome's principal shopping street Via del Corso and its environs is "increasingly in the hands of foreign brands" according to the Corriere della Sera report. In 2010 the Rinascente building on Via del Corso gave way to Spanish giant Zara while in 2011 the former Mondadori bookstore, also on Via del Corso, was taken over by American clothing retailer Gap.