PARIS — Hennes & Mauritz may shed as many as 1,100 jobs in Spain, the Swedish fast-fashion retailer said Tuesday, citing restructuring efforts to integrate stores and online selling channels.
“The retail industry is going through a major shift due to increased digitalization, changing customer behavior and constant online channel growth,” said H&M group, parent company to labels Cos, Monki, & Other Stories, Arket and Weekday in addition to H&M, in an emailed statement. AFP reported the job cuts earlier Tuesday, citing unions in the country.
The fast-fashion retailer has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted temporary store closures across markets over the past year. Sales were down 21 percent in the first quarter, reflecting the ongoing choppy trading conditions.
Several months ago, the retailer announced plans to open around 100 new stores this year while closing 350 units, mostly in markets where it is well established. In Spain, the company said Tuesday, plans are to close around 30 stores — 27 from the H&M brand and three from Cos — throughout this year, and possibly into 2022. The group plans to pursue a so-called collective dismissal procedure and a “substantial modification of working conditions,” it said in a statement.
The group said it intended to keep as many jobs as possible, and to prioritize voluntary departures. Consultation with unions is expected to begin at the end of April.
“We need to adapt to changing customer behavior and needs in order to be able to remain competitive,” H&M said.
Executives at the group have said they would continuously evaluate the fleet of physical stores, even as they are seeing an interest from customers in returning to shop in person when possible. In recent years, the group has stressed integrating digital shopping avenues with stores as a key priority.