H&M was my first stop.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The entire first floor sold women's clothing. Some of the styles at the front of the store were nice ...

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

... but others missed the mark, like this t-shirt that just read "Saturday" on the front. The selection was very hit or miss — some of the clothes were fashionable, and others were far from it. The quality also hugely varied, with some clothes feeling like they were about to fall apart and others seeming to be of higher quality.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were $10 jeans placed by the front of the store as well. H&M was certainly cheap, selling a lot of basics like jeans, t-shirts, and sweaters at low prices.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

On top of the sometimes unbelievably low prices, there were sale racks all over the store.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The inventory problems really started to show here. The sale racks were completely cluttered and messy, and the products that were on sale felt totally random. There were jeans, dresses, tank tops, sweaters, scarves, and shorts. The aisles were narrow, and there was just too much going on at once.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The rest of the store was much neater than the sale racks, but it didn't seem to be organized in a clear way. There were nice blouses, sweatshirts, jeans, and pantsuits all displayed in the same spot.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Clothes for every season and occasion were next to each other.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

It definitely embodied the idea of a "treasure hunt" experience, but if you were looking for something specific, it would be tricky to find it.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

H&M also sold hats ...

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

... shoes ...

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

... and beauty products. Near the register, there were also face masks, perfume, scrunchies, socks, and other random small products.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Upstairs was a large kids' department. It had a boys' section and a girls' section, and each side was further organized by age. It was definitely easier to navigate than the women's section downstairs.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The men's section was also upstairs, and there was a pretty long line at the register. It didn't have as much as the women's department did, but what it did have was better organized.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Though the store was a mess, and the quality of the products varied, I found that in general, the store had a lot of great deals to offer if you were willing to look for them, and there was something for everyone style-wise.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

I went to Zara next. It was directly across from the top level of H&M.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

It felt much less cluttered than H&M. You didn't need to snake through every aisle to find something. It was a smaller store, but it had more space to walk around in.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

It was also more minimalistic than H&M. Everything was more spread out, and the clothing racks were much less cluttered, making it easier to actually see everything without having to dig through piles of clothes.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The styles were very hit or miss at Zara, too. It was generally higher quality than H&M, but the prices reflected that — it was more expensive, too.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Basic blue jeans that were $10 at H&M were $45 at Zara. However, basic t-shirts were similarly priced at the two stores.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Zara had fewer basics than H&M. Instead, there were more t-shirts that felt like they were trying to imitate streetwear and high fashion.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Like H&M, Zara had a kids' section ...

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

... and a men's section.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

H&M was more cluttered, and its inventory problems were obvious in the store. However, from a shopper's perspective, the store had a lot of great deals and a ton of variety in the styles it carried. Zara was slightly more expensive, and it didn't offer everything H&M did in terms of basics, beauty products, and accessories. Even though Zara was less cluttered and is performing well sales-wise, I found that H&M had more to offer overall.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler