Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M will shed 250 stores worldwide in 2021 on pandemic pressures and a customer base turning increasingly to online shopping.
The store closures are a fraction of the chain’s 5,000 locations as the retailer pivots to digital from brick-and-mortar sites to cater to stay-home shoppers, H&M officials said in a statement Thursday announcing the planned moves.
H&M said customers’ moves to online “have been accelerated by COVID-19,” forcing the chain to speed up its store consolidation plans. Meantime, about 3% of the chain’s stores remain closed while a large number are still under local restrictions on store openings or are on limited opening hours.
“More and more customers started shopping online during the pandemic and they are making it clear that they value a convenient and inspiring experience in which stores and online interact and strengthen each other,” CEO Helena Helmersson said in the statement.