H&M is closing 250 stores, amid coronavirus-related struggles that many businesses are currently facing during the ongoing pandemic. According to The New York Times, the Swedish retailer has found that "more and more customers started shopping online during the pandemic." H&M has 5,000 globally, which means that it is shutting down roughly two percent of its total number of in-person business.
While the pandemic has obviously has a big impact on customers buying clothes from brick-and-mortar stores, H&M did report "strong and profitable" sales growth from June to August, as stores were allowed to reopen. In a statement H&M CEO Helena Helmersson added, "Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger." Notably, other retailers — such as American Eagle Outfitter and GameStop — have also announced store closures, in favor of more online sales.
H&M announced that it would close 250 stores globally next year as part of its plans to consolidate stores and ramp up digital offerings to meet the needs of customers who are increasingly choosing to shop online. https://t.co/n8Xvq5wvVs— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 1, 2020
Another big chain that was affected by the pandemic was Best Buy. The electronics and appliances store had to furlough roughly 51,000 hourly employees back in April. When announcing the plan, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said, "The situation we are all facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is truly unprecedented." She added, "We are fulfilling essential technology needs for customers in a safe and innovative way, including continuing to provide remote technical advice and support."
It isn't just retail business having a tough time during the pandemic, as many restaurants are struggling as well. Interestingly, one company who shutting down dine-in restaurants for a completely different reason is Pizza Hut. In August, the pizza chain revealed its plans to close about 500 locations, per USA Today, but it had actually been reported about a year prior that this was Pizza Hut's plan all along.
David Gibbs, chief operating officer Yum! Brands — Pizza Hut's parent company — commented on the move, saying, "This will ultimately strengthen the Pizza Hut business in the U.S. and set it up for a faster long-term growth." He added, "It’s hard to estimate how soon the timing of when a store will close and then when the replaced unit will open. There will be gaps on some of those, but certainly, our goal is to try to minimize those gaps."