AUSTIN, TX — Sweden-based H&M, a low-cost fashion retailer with five Austin-area stores, announced plans to close up to 250 stores next year given diminished foot traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic as a primary cause.
The announcement by parent company H&M Group came in an earnings summary released Thursday.
In September alone, officials noted, sales decreased by 5 percent. Third quarter-sales fell by 16 percent to $5.7 million., according to the earnings report. H&M currently has 166 stores, or about 3 percent of its total number of stores, still closed. At the peak of the pandemic, about 80 percent of H&M’s 5,000 stores worldwide were closed.
“The rapid changes in customer behavior have been accelerated by Covid-19,”company officials wrote in an earnings report. “The H&M group is therefore now stepping up the pace of its transformation work further, with digital investments, optimization of the store portfolio and increasingly integrated channels.”