H&M To Close Hundreds Of Stores

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STOCKHOLM, SWEDENH & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) is planning to close hundreds of stores in 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic drives more shoppers online, the world’s second biggest fashion retailer said on Thursday, after reporting a smaller than expected drop in third-quarter profit.

The fast fashion Swedish retailer, which over decades expanded its network of shops around the world, will aim to cut their number by a net 250 next year, representing 5 percent of its current network.

H&M has been shutting more stores and opening fewer over the past couple of years as it adapts to the online shift that is driving more competition. The retailer said earlier this year its net number of stores would decline already in 2020.

The company also said sales had continued to recover in September from the impact of the virus.

Chief Executive Helena Helmersson said: “Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger.”

In the March-May quarter, the pandemic had pushed H&M into a steep loss, its first in many decades, as sales halved.

H&M said its September sales were down 5 percent year-on-year in local currencies after they fell 19 percent in the three months through August.

Of more than 5,000 stores worldwide, 3 percent remain temporarily shut against around 80 percent at the height of lockdowns, it said.

H&M, which has struggled for years to stop a rise in inventories, said those were unchanged from a year earlier. Markdowns increased half a percentage point, and H&M predicted they would grow 1 to 1.5 percent in the current quarter.

Photos Credit: H&M

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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.