H&M to close stores across the UK this year

The fashion and homeware giant is being forced to close some of its stores due to a ‘rapid change in customer behaviour’

High street giant H&M has confirmed it is closing some of its stores in the UK. The retailer, which sells clothing and homeware, is a staple on the UK high street, and is well-loved by shoppers.

But now H&M says it is being forced to close stores, citing a “rapid change in customer behaviour” for the decision. The Burton branch, located just over the South Derbyshire border in East Staffordshire, closed for the final time earlier this month.

Shops in Hartlepool, Maidenhead and on the Isle of Wight have also been earmarked for closure. It’s not yet known if any stores in Greater Manchester will be affected. 

A spokesperson for H&M UK & Ireland said: “During the last few years, we have seen a rapid change in customer behaviour that we cannot ignore. We continuously need to evaluate and develop our business to meet our customers’ needs and offer the best possible shopping experience, whether it’s online or in our physical stores. This means that we sometimes need to close stores.” 

It comes as the chain’s profits were almost wiped out in the September to November quarter by soaring costs. The world’s second biggest fashion chain’s chief executive, Helena Helmersson, said: “Rather than passing on the full cost to our customers, we chose to strengthen our market position further.”

Ms Helmersson, speaking at a news conference on Friday, said the group would keep raising prices in some categories to a varying extent in different markets to partially make up for continued high costs. “It’s a very dynamic pricing strategy,” she explained.

“It will still be very challenging in the first quarter of 2023. And then of course we need to increase prices, but not to cover the whole.” 

She added: “Although 2022 was a turbulent year characterised by negative external factors such as geopolitical challenges and substantial cost inflation, our sales increased by 6% during the year.

“Having left the worst of the negative effects of the pandemic behind us, war broke out in Ukraine. We quickly decided to pause sales in the countries affected and later to wind down our business in Russia and Belarus. Our decision to wind down the business in Russia, which was an important and profitable market, has had a significant negative impact on our results.”


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