COVID-19: H&M announces plans to close over 100 stores as pandemic accelerates shift online

H&M has announced plans to close over one hundred stores globally next year, as the Coronavirus drives more shoppers online.

The announcement comes on top of the 50 H&M stores already permanently shuttered this year, and will likely add to the “tens of thousands” of layoffs mulled at the start of the pandemic.

The world’s second-largest clothing brand, which employs around 180,000 people worldwide, on Thursday said profit in the three months to the end of August more than halved year-on-year to Skr1.8bn, down from SKr3.8bn in 2019.

Chief Executive of H&M 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.”

The fashion brand was forced to close the majority of its stores at the outbreak of the pandemic, as national lockdowns swept across the globe. Around 900 of its physical stores were still closed at the start of the quarter, with sales down 5% year-on-year in September.

H&M has since reopened the bulk of its retail stores, while around 166 remain closed and many have limited opening hours.

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