H&M GROUP: THE SWEDISH FAST FASHION CHAIN WILL SHUTTER NEARLY 200 LOCATIONS

H&M's disappointing losses in first half of 2020 invite global store closures.

By Balthazar Malevolent

H&M GROUP: THE SWEDISH FAST FASHION CHAIN WILL SHUTTER NEARLY 200 LOCATIONS

Companies ranging from Nike to Chuck E. Cheese parent have suffered tremendous losses in the wake of coronavirus, and Swedish fast fashion behemoth The H&M Group is no different. Following a loss of 3.06 billion Swedish Kroner (about $328 million USD), the massive chain has announced plans for restructuring that will see stores shuttered around the globe.

H&M store.

Although the H&M Group quoted "a faster [financial] recovery rate in newly reopened stores," the company has chosen to close 170 stores that it owns worldwide, although it did not specify whether it would fold eponymous H&M stores or those that house its other brands, including Cos, Weekday and & Other Stories. Like the Inditex-owned Zara, which is shutting down more than 1,200 stores in favor of digital expansion, H&M's executives have signaled a shift to online shopping, booming in the face of coronavirus.

"We can see clearly that the pandemic has caused changes in customers' behavior that will speed up our industry's digitalization," Helena Helmersson, CEO of H&M Group, told analysts in a conference call this week. "We've increased our online customer base and many of our in-store clients are now multichannel customers," noting that more male shoppers have started shopping online. "It's exciting to see that sales continue to pick up even though market conditions are still tough, there's no doubt that, so far, our sales recovery has been better than expected."

H&M announced that its online revenue rose 32 percent in local currencies in the second quarter of 2020. Such encouraging financials have also driven the Swedish giant to accelerate the integration of its online platforms, encouraged by speedy supply chain initiatives that allowed the company to ensure a constant flow of timely product in and out of its stores.

Looks like Alexander Wang and Rick Owens houses are still keeping all their stores. We wish them luck, everyone's having a hard time at this point!

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