H&M group’s net sales increased by 8% to SEK54,948m (£5bn) for the three months to 29 February, however sales were impacted in the second half of the quarter due to coronavirus.
This negative impact was particularly seen in China, where demand dipped off after 23 January “as a result of the rapid development of the virus”.
H&M’s group sales in China, therefore, decreased by 24% during the period, despite an initial increase of 27% for the period from 1 December to 23 January.
The group’s sales increased by 7% in local currencies excluding China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Japan and Taiwan.
March sales have so far been negatively affected, mainly in Europe, as a result of coronavirus.
All stores are now temporarily closed in Italy and during the weekend all stores were also closed temporarily in Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Belgium, France and partly in Greece.
From today all of the group’s stores in Austria, Luxembourg, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia and Kazakhstan have closed.
Online trading will continue as usual. In China, sales have gradually started to recover as the situation in the country has improved.
The group announced: ”While the H&M group’s transformation work continues at full speed, all activities in the company are now being carefully evaluated – including from a cost and risk perspective – so as to be able to mitigate the negative effects associated with the virus as far as possible.”