H&M Warns It May Need to Cut Thousands of Jobs as Crisis Spreads

(Bloomberg) --

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB said it has shuttered thousands of stores across the globe and may drastically reduce its staff, as the company struggles to adapt to the new world order created by the spread of the coronavirus.

H&M said its response to the crisis is “likely to affect tens of thousands of employees in all parts of the business” across the globe, in a statement on Monday.

The company has already temporarily closed all stores in several of its biggest markets including Germany and the U.S. Over the weekend, it announced it was shutting all its stores in the U.K. The development has forced the board to withdraw planned dividend payments.

With the latest steps, H&M said that 3,441 of its 5,062 stores worldwide are now closed. The crisis is expected to have a “significant negative impact on sales so far in March,” it said.

H&M is reviewing all parts of its operations in an attempt to curb costs, including talks on temporary layoffs “in a number of markets,” with those measures likely to be extended. The retailer said it may also need to permanently fire employees if the situation doesn’t improve.

Story Link: H&M Cancels Dividend; Sees ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Lay-Offs

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