DON’T GO: The mayor of a town in northern France has launched a public battle against Hennes & Mauritz AB for its plans to close a store in the city center in early December.
Signs were plastered on around 10 bulletin boards across the town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, which has a population of nearly 45,000, that read “H&M Cashes In, Then Leaves. Stop!”
The Swedish fast-fashion giant, which employs around 10 people at the store in question, said its reasons for leaving are “purely contractual,” citing the expiration of a rent contract after failing to come to an agreement with the owner.
“I made the choice of calling it out publicly to denounce an arbitrary, brutal and purely economic closure and to call attention to a phenomenon confronting mayors of medium-sized villages,” said the mayor, Frédéric Cuvillier.
The former transport minister, who was angered by the loss of a traffic-generating brand just before the holiday season, said he offered the company a chance to respond before proceeding with the poster campaign.
A spokesman for H&M said the company did not have a policy of closing down sites in town centers, noting it has 53 such locations in France. The retailer has been present in the country since 1998 and counts 214 stores there.
H&M also noted that while it is studying opportunities for expansion, it does not have plans to open a store on the periphery of Boulogne-sur-Mer, an important military outpost in the days of Roman antiquity.