Fashion Retailer H&M With 16 GA Locations To Close 250 Stores



GEORGIA — H&M, a low-cost fashion retailer based in Sweden with a heavy mall presence in Georgia, said it plans to close up to 250 stores next year because of decreased foot traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement by parent company H&M Group came in an earnings summary released Thursday.

In September alone, sales decreased by 5 percent. H&M currently has 166 stores, or about 3 percent of its total number of stores, still closed. At the peak of the pandemic, about 80 percent of H&M’s 5,000 stores worldwide were closed.

Many stores that are open still have local restrictions and limited opening hours, officials said. For example, many mall stores in Georgia do not open until 11 a.m. and close an hour or more earlier than they did before the pandemic. More customers are shopping online, the report notes.

Even before boutiques and malls were shut down by the coronavirus outbreak, traditional brick-and-mortar establishments were losing revenue and customers to e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Target and Walmart.

“The rapid changes in customer behavior have been accelerated by Covid-19,” according to the earnings report. “The H&M group is therefore now stepping up the pace of its transformation work further, with digital investments, optimization of the store portfolio and increasingly integrated channels.”

H&M officials said about a quarter of its stores have a contractual right to renegotiate or exit their leases each year and put the potential closure total at 250 stores.

Specific stores slate for closure were not disclosed in the earnings report.

H&M’s Georgia stores include:

  • Arbor Place in Douglasville

  • Atlantic Station in Atlanta

  • Augusta Mall in Augusta

  • Cumberland Mall in Atlanta

  • Mall of Georgia in Buford

  • North Point Mall in Alpharetta

  • Oglethorpe Mall in Savannah

  • Peachtree Mall in Columbus

  • Perimeter Mall in Atlanta

  • Southlake Mall in Morrow

  • Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville

  • Tanger Outlets Commerce in Commerce

  • The Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia

  • The Shoppes at River Crossing in Macon

  • The Shoppes at Webb Gin in Snellville

  • Town Center at Cobb in Kennesaw

Other chains that are closing some of their Georgia stores include the Gap, Pier 1 Imports, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sears, Kmart, Dressbarn, Papyrus and more.

Pier 1 closed half of its stores to “better align its business with the current operating environment.” Eleven Georgia stores, including two in Atlanta, one in Decatur, one in Marietta and one in Douglasville, were removed from the chain’s website.

The parent company of clothing retailers including Justice, Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor, LOFT, Catherine’s, Lou & Grey and Cacique filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. Ascena Retail Group announced plans to close about half its 2,800 stores.

The closings in Georgia include 19 Justice stores, all seven Catherine’s shops as well as four others owned by Ascena.

A record 9,300-plus store closings were announced in 2019, and that number could be even higher in 2020, according to a report by Business Insider.

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This article originally appeared on the Buckhead Patch

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