H&M to close four regional UK stores
Global fashion giant H&M is planning to shutter four of its regional UK stores, citing a “rapid change” in customer behaviour. Stores in Hartlepool, Maidenhead, Newport on the Isle of Wight and Burton are set to close, although no timescale has been given.
A spokesperson for H&M UK and Ireland, stressed that its physical store network remains “extremely important” to the brand and “will be a place for customers to shop”.
Explaining the store closures, it also said it can’t ignore changes in customer behaviour and it continuously evaluates how it should invest in stores. Sometimes decisions must be made to enable long-term growth, which means that “we sometimes need to close stores”
The announcement follows a move in November by H&M to cut 1,500 jobs globally in a bid to reduce costs. Last month, it said it expects to achieve cost savings worth SEK2 billion in 2023, which ought to have “a positive effect on Q4 results”.
It would also help offset a “significant” increase in investment spending in 2023 including new product, supply chain, digital tech and AI.
In Januaury, H&M group published mixed results for fiscal 2022, with sales up 6%, but net profit falling by two-thirds. However, the group’s capex is set to grow from SEK7 billion to SEK10 billion (€893 million), equivalent to an increase of over 40%.
As well as being busy on continued expansion projects, H&M also wants to streamline its organisation. Last year, it shut around 427 stores, including 175 in Russia and Belarus. In 2023, a further 200 locations are earmarked for closure, while the group said it is also continuing to “renegotiate leases”.
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