Q2 sales halve at H&M amid varied recovery

By Beth Wright | 15 June 2020

Group sales at Swedish fashion retailer H&M have halved in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic saw about 80% of its store portfolio shuttered by the middle of the period.

For the three months from 1 March to 31 May, group net sales decreased by 50% to SEK28.7bn (US$3.2bn), compared to SEK57.5bn last year. In local currencies, net sales also declined by 50%.

The drop is better than analyst estimates of a fall to SEK27.5bn according to a report published by Reuters, citing Refinitiv data.

Online sales, meanwhile, were up by 36% in SEK and 32% in local currencies during the same period.

H&M said sales development during the second quarter was "severely affected" by the Covid-19 situation, which saw about fourth-fifths of the group's stores temporarily closed in mid-April.

The retailer began gradually reopening stores in a number of markets from the end of April and said the pace of the sales recovery "varies at a large extent between markets." 

Group total sales from 1-13 June this year were down by 30% in local currencies, compared with the same period in 2019.

At present approximately 900 stores, representing around 18% of the group's 5,058 stores, are still temporarily closed. Online sales are open in 48 of the company's 51 online markets.

H&M will publish its six-month report on 26 June.