H&M confirms it will close 240 shops across the world following slump in sales

Retailer H&M has confirmed it will close 240 shops across the world following a slump in sales. The chain has said it will open 95 new shops and close around 240 this year.

However, there is no indication that the Nottingham H&M, in Lister Gate, will close. The retailer said the wider closures will “mainly be in established markets”, with openings in “growth markets”.

H&M has more than 5,000 branches worldwide. Some 185 stores in Russia were shut after the country invaded Ukraine, as well as online sales to Russia, the Mirror Online reports.

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The retailer said Russia was its sixth largest market, representing 4% of sales. Sales rose 6% in local currencies in March compared with 23% growth in the three months through February but these were down 11% from two years earlier, before the pandemic hit.

H&M Group already confirmed plans to shut 250 stores globally last summer, as part of its recovery strategy from the coronavirus pandemic. The Swedish chain said the closures were in response to more customers shopping online.

In its financial update at the time, H&M Group – which also includes brands such as Monki and Cos – reported a 75% rise in net sales from April to June, compared with the same period in the year before.

The company said net sales were around £392million, while profit increased to £303million in the second quarter. H&M chief executive Helena Helmersson said: “With the combination of much-appreciated collections, rapid adaptation and further improvements, our recovery is strong.

“Despite continued restrictions, sales increased significantly compared with the previous year. The third quarter has started well and we are almost back at the level we were at before the pandemic.

“Together with profitable online growth and continued store optimisation this will contribute to long-term, profitable and sustainable growth for the H&M group.” H&M has been contacted for comment.

The store restructuring comes as retail giant Primark launched its first online website, allowing shoppers to automatically check stock in stores. The website will use a traffic light system to do this. If an item has a green light, it is in stock. Orange means there are a few left, while red means it’s sold out but will be returning.