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H&M to close 250 stores worldwide

A further shift towards online shopping

H&M to close 250 stores worldwide A further shift towards online shopping

For several months now we have been wondering about the future of the fast fashion sector, looking with particular attention to the situation of H&M. The lockdown and the pandemic represented a dramatic moment for the second-largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, which reported a loss of €477 million between March and May this year. The health emergency highlighted the structural problems that the brand had been suffering for years, in particular the unsustainability of its sales model, which is still too tied to the physical store and territorial expansion.

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@young_emperors in #HMStudio A/W 2020

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Last April the news of the closure of 7 stores in Italy arrived, while today the group announces the closure of 250 stores, about 5% of the entire network, in the next twelve months. H&M has yet to reveal where and how the closures will take place, but the plan is part of a broader program that aims at cutting costs and enhancing e-commerce. The lockdown months highlighted how those stores were a burden to get rid of, in favour of a cheaper and more convenient digital shopping model.

Although sales rose in the month of September, also thanks to two highly anticipated collaborations, the symbol of a new aesthetic direction undertaken by the brand, H&M tries to redefine its identity and its mission both in terms of aesthetics and of sales. In addition to focusing on e-commerce, H&M is trying to relaunch by moving away from its old aesthetic and its reputation. After the constant accusations of greenwashing, in recent years H&M has tried to rebuild its image through conscious capsules collections and eco-friendly products, made with recycled materials, or through a rental clothing service aimed at reducing waste. 

Of more than 5,000 stores worldwide, 3% remain temporarily shut against around 80% at the height of lockdowns. It remains to be seen whether these large and definitive closures will be enough for H&M to survive.