The international retailer H&M is opening its first South Carolina store in downtown Charleston next week after a six-month renovation of the historic Kress building.

The doors at 281 King St. just north of Wentworth Street open at noon Dec. 19. The first 300 shoppers in line will win giveaways, including gift cards worth up to $300.

The Swedish-owned chain took Williams-Sonoma's old space and expanded into the former East Shore Athletic Club next door to accommodate its 21,000 square-foot retail store.

Popular for its trendy yet affordable men and women's apparel, H&M has nearly 300 locations in the U.S. and about 3,000 worldwide.

In a statement this week, the company said the Charleston opening is part of a larger initiative to expand H&M's presence in the Southeast.

"The South is a big focus for U.S. expansion, and we look forward to continued growth in 2014," said Daniel Kulle, president of H&M in the U.S.

The retailer is planning a second area store. It's expected to open at Tanger Outlet Center in North Charleston next fall.

Second Sunday encore

Lower King Street's monthly Second Sunday event is being extended to make way for holiday shoppers.

The peninsula's main retail corridor becomes a pedestrian-only zone for a few hours on the second Sunday each month from Calhoun to Queen streets. For December, the organizers, King Street Marketing Group, will hold the 1-5 p.m. event twice: this coming Sunday, per the normal schedule, and again on Dec. 22.

Coming to town

Several new retail shops have made their debuts in Mount Pleasant.

Bespoke, an artisan gift shop, has opened near Whole Foods-anchored shopping center at 917 Houston Northcutt Blvd. It carries custom furniture, woodwork art, home decor and more.

Eos Art Supply celebrated its grand opening Tuesday at 1405 Ben Sawyer Blvd., near McCants Drive.

Escapada Living has opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in the town after four years of supplying boutiques around the country with its resort and beachwear line. It's at 543 Long Point Road.

Coming soon

A French-style cafe, Saveurs Du Monde, has leased a 2,501-square-foot space in The Shoppes at Seaside Farms at 1960 Long Grove Drive in Mount Pleasant. The owners plan to renovate, and construction should wrap up in about two to three months.

Studio R, a locally owned custom stationery business, has leased a 1,250-square-foot space at 218 St. Philip St. in downtown Charleston.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail