H&M posts £115m pre-tax loss as stores remain closed

H&M Helena Helmersson
Around 1800 stores were temporarily closed due to restrictions
// H&M sales down 21% in first quarter due to lockdown restrictions
// For the December-February period, H&M reported a pretax loss of £115m

H&M has seen its net sales drop 21 per cent in its first quarter as the second wave of the pandemic resulted in extensive restrictions.

Around 1800 stores were temporarily closed, which amounts to 36 per cent of the group’s total number of stores.

For the December-February period, H&M reported a pretax loss of £115 million.

READ MORE: H&M posts 27% drop in quarterly sales

H&M said it would not propose a dividend at its annual general meeting but saw good prospects of one in the second half of the year.

Its customer loyalty programme now has over 120 million members in 26 markets.

H&M members can now get points for more conscious choices such as bringing in old clothes for H&M’s garment collecting, choosing climate-smart delivery options, bringing their own bag when shopping and choosing products made from more sustainable materials.

“While we are humbled by the uncertainty that still exists due to the pandemic, it’s fantastic to see the great interest in our collections,” H&M chief executive Helena Helmersson said.

“With a well-positioned customer offering we are continuing our transformation at full speed to create long-term sustainable and profitable growth for the H&M group.

“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.

“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 changes that we were already seeing in areas such as digitalisation and sustainability have been speeded up further 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.

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