H&M reports major loss due to coronavirus closures

H&M reports major loss due to coronavirus closures
Even now, around 7% of HM's stores worldwide are closed. Photo: Henrik Holmberg / TT
Swedish clothing chain HM reported a steep loss in 2020's second quarter, largely due to the coronavirus and subsequent shop closures around the world.

At the height of the crisis in Europe in mid-April, about 80 percent of H&M's shops were shut. Net loss fell to about five billion kronor (477 million euros), H&M said.

“When the majority of the stores were temporarily closed in the second quarter, we focused on redirecting product flow to our digital channels,” chief executive Helena Helmersson said in the quarterly report.

In the three months to May, sales overall tumbled 50 percent compared with a year earlier to 28.7 billion kronor but online sales rose 32 percent.

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The company had been planning to open some 165 shops and close 130 this year but it said it now expects to shut 170 and open fewer, at 130.

Some 350 shops are currently closed, about seven percent of the global total.

In its 2019 second quarter H&M posted a net profit of 4.6 billion kronor, compared with a net loss of nearly five billion kronor announced Friday.

Earlier this year, H&M reported a strong start but warned that it expected a tough second quarter because of the coronavirus crisis.

“The second quarter will naturally be very negatively impacted by the corona situation and will therefore be loss-making,” the group said at the time.

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