Fashion giant H&M has announced plans to axe 170 stores across Europe this year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The closures, which are likely to see hundreds of jobs cut, come after sales fell by 50 per cent during lockdown throughout the continent. 

The high street retailer said it’s added an extra 40 stores to proposed closures this year – though 130 branches will reopen elsewhere. 

H&M Group, which also includes brands such as COS, Weekday and Monki, will close 170 stores in total, but it has not yet announced which brands and locations will be affected. 

Fashion giant H&M has announced plans to axe 170 stores across Europe this year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

Fashion giant H&M has announced plans to axe 170 stores across Europe this year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

Fashion giant H&M has announced plans to axe 170 stores across Europe this year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis

It comes just after newspaper company Reach, which publishes titles including the Mirror, Express and Daily Star, confirmed some 550 jobs, equivalent to 12 per cent of its workforce, was to be axed.

The overhaul, designed to cut costs by £35 million a year, came as Reach reported a 27.5 per cent decline in quarterly revenue.

The firm, which also produces regional dailies such as the Liverpool Echo and the Manchester Evening News, said it was facing ‘structural change’ in the sector, accelerated by the pandemic.   

H&M chief executive, Helena Helmersson, said in March: ‘Covid-19 continues to impact people, communities and companies around the world and I am full of admiration for our employees’ commitment, drive and perseverance during this very challenging time. 

‘The safety of our employees and customers remains our highest priority and we are reopening stores in line with decisions by the authorities.

‘Before the pandemic hit, we performed strongly – a result of many years of long-term investments to create the best offering for our customers and to meet the digital shift in the industry. 

‘This, combined with the fact that we have acted quickly to counter the negative effects of Covid-19 and that we are speeding up the transformation of the H&M Group, makes me convinced that we will come out of the current crisis stronger.’ 

More follows. 

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