H&M today said its net sales have fallen by 10% in its fourth quarter, and by 18% over the full year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Despite the continued fall in sales, the fourth quarter figures represent a recovery from its third quarter when sales were down by 16% on the same time last year.
The multichannel fashion retailer, ranked Leading in RXUK Top500 research, says the year started strongly “with positive momentum” before the first wave of Covid-19 hit. It then saw sales fall in the second quarter as many stores closed for lockdowns and fewer people visited those stores that remained open.
Since then, sales have started to return to normal in the third quarter, before being hit again by lockdowns during H&M’s fourth quarter – to November 30.
Between September 1 and October 21, sales were down by only 3% compared to the same time last year. But between October 22 and November 30, sales were down by 22%, as a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic caused a new slowdown.
The retailer said in end of year figures that it turned over SEK 54.5bn (£4.78bn) in the fourth quarter of the year to November 30, down by 10% from SEK 61.7bn (£5.41bn). In its full year, to the same date, it turned down SEK 187bn (£16.4bn), 18% down from SEK 232.7bn (£20.4bn) last time.
In October, H&M said it was planning omnichannel investment as it looks to respond to changing customer behaviour during the pandemic.
H&M is to publish its full-year figures on January 29 2021.