By JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, GMA

(NEW YORK) — H&M plans to close 250 stores next year as they struggle with sales during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Swedish fashion retailer announced on Thursday that it plans to close hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which contributed to its 5% sales decline in September.

“More and more customers started shopping online during the pandemic, and they are making it clear that they value a convenient and inspiring experience in which stores and online interact and strengthen each other,” said H&M CEO Helena Helmersson in a statement.

She continued, “To ensure that our offerings are relevant to customers and improve availability in all channels, speed and flexibility will be even more important in the future, particularly in the supply chain.”

H&M currently has more than 5,000 stores, and the upcoming closures will account for 5% of them.

Like many other retailers, the pandemic forced some H&M stores to close resulting in lost revenue.

“Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger,” said Helmersson. “Demand for good value, sustainable products is expected to grow in the wake of the pandemic and our customer offering is well positioned for this.”

She added, “We are now accelerating our transformation work so that we continue to add value for our customer.”

H&M joins a host of other companies, such as Victoria’s Secret, JCPenney and several others, that have announced store closures.

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