H&M is planning to add to the wave of store closures of almost 170

H&MThe retail scene’s brick-and-mortar side is set to worsen, with Hennes & Mauritz AB planning to add to the wave of shop closures. The Swedish fast-fashion retailer, which owns Cos, Monki , Weekday and & Other stories, as well as their own brand, plans to close about 170 stores while showcasing larger flagships – fitted with state-of-the-art garment monitoring technology. It aims to speed up online channel integration and is using RFID tracking technology in 20 markets.

The brand has increased its online customer base with many of its in-store customers now becoming multichannel customers. The group aims to adopt the omnichannel strategy in the future to meet the customer wherever they choose to go. H&M reported a first-half loss after tax of 3.06 billion Swedish kroner, or $328 million. Executives flagged a faster recovery rate in recently reopened stores. The brand’s sales in June declined by 25 per cent in local currencies compared to the same period last year. Most of the label’s stores have reopened, but 350 units, or 7 percent, remain closed.

Earlier this month, the Swedish group posted revenue of 83.61 billion Swedish kronor, or $8.96 billion, down 24 percent in local currencies for the first half, with the greatest effect of the COVID-19 crisis in the second quarter. Inventory of the company decreased 3 percent year-on-year in local currencies at the end of May, compared to a 2.5 percent raise at the end of April, which was a positive surprise, analyst Chamberlain noted, who had predicted an increase due to delayed shipments from China and Bangladesh.