Amid a quarter in which a large percentage of its stores were temporarily shuttered during the pandemic, H&M Group saw its net sales fall by 50 percent. The retailer’s eCommerce sales, however, jumped by 36 percent in SEK and 32 percent in local currencies, according to an announcement.
CEO Helena Helmersson said, “As we have reopened our stores, sales have begun to recover at a faster rate than expected. To meet the rapid changes in customer behaviour caused by Covid-19 we are accelerating our digital development, optimising the store portfolio and further integrating the channels.”
Sales during the timeframe of June 1-24 of this year dropped by 25 percent in local currencies compared to the same timeframe in the past year. As it stands, 350 retail locations, which comprise 7 percent of overall shops, remain shuttered.
A “large number” of locations continue to have restricted opening hours and local limitations, while 48 of the company’s 51 eCommerce markets are open. The company also said it is “continuing to take action” to alleviate the coronavirus health crisis.
“As the pandemic has speeded up the digital shift in the industry, the company’s transformation work relating to digitalisation, the supply chain and the organisation is being accelerated,” the company said in the announcement.
The speed of closures is accelerating for all of 2020, with a lower number of openings compared to what was intended in the past. Approximately 170 closings and 130 openings are in the cards, which brings about a net decrease in roughly 40 locations.
In March, H&M announced it would use its large supply network to assist hospitals that require supplies such as gowns and masks in the European Union. The move was an effort by the fashion retailer to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
At the time, it was reported that the company was working to determine what was most needed and how its supply chain could help.