H&M half-year sales slump amid Covid-19 pandemic

Fashion retailer H&M has reported a 23% decrease in net sales to SEK 83,612bn (£7.2bn) for the half-year period ended 31 May 2020.

The group said it was “significantly negatively affected” by the Covid-19 situation, with pre-tax losses amounting to SEK 3,063bn (£265m) during the H1 period.

H&Ms net sales also decreased by 50% to SEK 28,664bn (£2.4bn) during the second quarter, due to 80% of the group’s stores temporarily closing during April.

Despite this, the group said it has taken “rapid and forceful” action to manage the Covid-19 situation, which focused on all parts of the business, including areas such as product purchasing, investments, rents, staffing and financing.

H&M said there was greater focus on the digital sales channels, which resulted in online sales increasing by 36% in SEK and 32% in local currencies during Q2.

CEO Helena Helmersson said: “I am full of admiration for our employees’ commitment, drive and perseverance during this very challenging time. As we have reopened our stores, sales have begun to recover at a faster rate than expected.

“To meet the rapid changes in customer behaviour caused by Covid-19 we are accelerating our digital development, optimising the store portfolio and further integrating the channels. With our ambitious sustainability work we want to continue to lead fashion retail towards a more sustainable future.”

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