H&M sales drop by 21% in first quarter

Fashion chain H&M reported a sales decline of 21 per cent in the three months to 28 February 2021.

The retailer announced a pre-tax loss of $160 million ( 1.39 billion kronor.)

The group said that the second wave of the pandemic led to extensive restrictions, at one point seeing the temporary closure of 1,800 stores, representing 36 per cent of the company’s shops.

But H&M said that its online sales continued to “develop very well.”

“It is now a year since the full force of the pandemic hit. I am deeply impressed by and proud of all our colleagues’ fantastic commitment and customer focus during a very challenging time,” said Helena Helmersson, chief executive of H&M. “Although it is still largely a matter of managing the negative effects of recurring store closures, it is clear that customers appreciate our offering. When markets have been allowed to open, store sales have picked up while at the same time online sales have continued to develop very well.”

The H&M boss said that changes the company was already seeing in digitalisation and sustainability have been “speeded up” by the pandemic.

“We have therefore increased the pace of change, and thanks to our significant investments in recent years we are able to meet customers’ changing behaviour and higher expectations with increasing speed,” said Helmersson. “Our digital initiatives are continuing, along with the development of our physical store network. We can see that customers both want to be able to see, feel and try on the garments in real life and to use digital channels to explore fashion, be inspired and shop.

She added: “Looking ahead, we will strengthen the interaction between the channels further in order to offer customers the best experience with all of our brands.”

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