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Coronavirus Cuts H&M’s Second-Quarter Sales in Half

Hennes & Mauritz AB saw global sales sliced in half during a second quarter when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the majority of its 5,058 stores worldwide.

The Swedish fast-fashion chain on Monday said sales for the period ended May 31 plummeted by 50 percent to 28.66 billion Swedish kronar ($3.06 billion), though digital sales helped to offset the damage with a 36 percent uptick.

By the middle of April, H&M had closed 80 percent of its brick-and-mortar footprint to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. It began the reopening process by the end of that month, but said the “pace of the sales recovery varies at a large extent between markets.” Now, just 900 of its physical outposts—or 18 percent of its fleet—remain temporarily shuttered, while just three of its 51 digital markets aren’t fulfilling orders, it said.

Sales trends are beginning to show signs of recovery. H&M said sales at reopened stores are tracking 30 percent off in local currency for the June 1-13 period versus the year-ago frame. The company plans to report full six-month results on June 26.

H&M is not alone in feeling the outsize effects of the coronavirus crisis. Last week, fellow fashion power player Inditex reported Q1 net sales that tumbled 44.3 percent to 3.30 billion euros ($3.76 billion), driving a first-ever quarterly loss of 409 million euros ($465.5 million). The Zara owner is also planning to trim 1,200 stores from its global fleet in the next two year.