In an online presentation ahead of the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday, chief executive officer Helena Helmersson said the company had adapted rapidly to shifting market conditions by accelerating its digital transformation and increasing efforts to make its products more sustainable.
As reported, sales over the three months ending Feb. 28 were down 21 percent, reflecting ongoing choppy trading conditions for fast-fashion retailers.
“The pandemic is not yet over but we stand on firm foundations,” Helmersson said.
“So, while we are very much humbled by the uncertainty that still exists, we — and I — are firmly convinced that the H&M group will come out of the crisis stronger. We have well-established and strong brands, and we are working hard to constantly become better, faster and more flexible in order to meet customers’ ever-increasing expectations,” she continued.
“Even in a rapidly changing world, we are very positive as regards the opportunities to create sustainable and profitable growth for the H&M group in the long term,” the executive concluded.
The group, which operates Cos, Monki, & Other Stories, Arket and Weekday in addition to H&M, has been cutting costs and renegotiating leases for its retail network since the pandemic struck. Before COVID-19, it had embarked on an overhaul of operations to improve digital services and spruce up its offer. Signs of improvement had begun to emerge as the crisis hit.
Forecasts are for a modest pace of recovery for the fast-fashion industry. The AGM approved the board’s proposal that no dividend be paid.