In recent years, H&M has done the investment to enable shoppers to buy where, when and how they choose. This stood it in good stead during the COVID-19 outbreak. The retailer reported a profit for its latest financial year. Despite lockdowns that meant up to 80% of its stores had to close temporarily at the beginning of the year.
Digital sales have helped to compensate for store closures and restrictions during COVID-19. In addition, stores will remain key to its multichannel strategy. H&M says it is increasingly integrating online into its physical stores. The retailer says it will close about 350 shops over the coming year in its more established markets, while opening about 100 new ones. It currently has about 5,000 shops around the world.
The transformation initiatives and investments, focusing on the digital, have been very important for managing the crisis. "Customers want to meet us where, when and how they choose – in the stores, on our websites, on digital marketplaces and on social media. They are showing us clearly that they appreciate a convenient and inspiring experience in which the channels interact and strengthen each other," says H&M Group Chief Executive Helena Helmersson.
H&M is continuing their initiatives for digital growth, integration of the channels and optimization of the store portfolio. The retailer says that speed and flexibility will be even more important going forward. Particularly in the supply chain, to ensure the best customer offering and increase availability in all channels.
Helmersson says strong profitable online growth and cost control helped the retailer to turn a profit during the year. “Taking decisive measures quickly, combined with an attractive customer offering, led to a better recovery than expected up until the second wave of the pandemic struck. Our measures to mitigate the negative effects of ongoing restrictions and closures are continuing. Although the situation at the time of writing is highly challenging, the H&M Group stands strong."
The retailer now plans for 100% of its products to be recycled or come from sustainable sources by 2030 – and 25% by 2025. In addition, they plan to issue sustainability bonds in order to finance this transition.
“Our key focus remains on developing strong, unique brands in order to always offer the best combination of fashion, quality, price and sustainability.”
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