Another blow for the high street as fashion retailer H&M reveals two branches are set to close
- The high street giant will be shuttering shops in Hartlepool and the Isle of Wight
- It comes just months after bosses admitted some 1,500 jobs would be cut
- The company’s profits dropped substantially to £36.31m, it announced today
Fashion retailer H&M has announced it is closing more UK stores, claiming it ‘cannot ignore’ a ‘rapid change in customer behaviour’.
The high street giant will be shuttering shops in Hartlepool and the Isle of Wight.
It comes just months after bosses admitted some 1,500 jobs would be cut after a slowdown in consumer spending.
A spokesperson for H&M UK & Ireland said: ‘During the last few years, we have seen a rapid change in customer behaviour that we cannot ignore.
Fashion retailer H&M has announced it is closing more UK stores, claiming it ‘cannot ignore’ a ‘rapid change in customer behaviour’
‘We continuously need to evaluate and develop our business to meet our customers’ needs and offer the best possible shopping experience, whether it’s online or in our physical stores.
‘This means that we sometimes need to close stores.’
It comes as it was revealed today that the business’ profits were almost wiped out in the September-November quarter by soaring costs, which the Swedish company held back from passing on in full to cash-strapped customers.
The world’s second biggest fashion chain, which raised some prices, will continue with this pricing strategy even though it will not fully compensate for the higher costs, such as for energy, transport and raw materials.
Chief Executive Helena Helmersson said: ‘Rather than passing on the full cost to our customers, we chose to strengthen our market position further.’
Helmersson, speaking at a news conference on Friday, said the group would keep raising prices in some categories to a varying extent in different markets to partially make up for continued high costs.
‘It’s a very dynamic pricing strategy,’ she told Reuters in an interview. ‘It will still be very challenging in the first quarter of 2023. And then of course we need to increase prices, but not to cover the whole.’
The retailer said its exit from Russia and the financial impact of a cost-cutting drive announced last year also contributed to the fall in profit.
The business reported a profit before tax for the period of 463 million Swedish crowns (£36.31m), against a year-earlier 6.0 billion. Analyst polled by Refinitiv had forecast a fall to 3.5 billion crowns.
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