H&M Reports Loss For First Time in Decades; Closing 170 Stores

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NATICK – H&M reported its first quarterly loss in decades this year, and announced it plans to close some brick-and-mortar stores

The European fashion retailer announced about 170 locations will close, 40 more than planned at the start of 2020. The list of store closures have not been released.

H&M opened in the Natick Mall in August 2015.

The Swedish company reported a pre-tax loss of 6.5 billion crowns or about $700 million in U.S. currency, and a 50% decline in sales. Last month, June 2020 sales were 25% less than June 2019 sales.

At one point, about 80% of its brick-and-mortar stores were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers were still able to shop online ,but the retailer reported less than brisk sales during the brick-and-mortar store shutdown. Roughly about 7% of the chain’s stores are still closed world-wide due to COVID-19

To preserve cash, H&M furloughed many employees in its U.S. market for a few months.

“As we have reopened our stores, sales have begun to recover at a faster rate than expected,” CEO Helena Helmersson said in a statement. “To meet the rapid changes in customer behavior caused by COVID-19, we are accelerating our digital development, optimizing the store portfolio and further integrating the channels.

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Petroni Media Company photo from the grand opening at the natick Mall store in Summer 2015

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