Business

H&M will close stores and ramp up digital efforts as online sales rise 7 percent.

Shares in the Swedish retailer H&M rose more than 7 percent after the company said online sales were growing strongly and the company had already returned to profit in the third quarter.

H&M also announced that it would close 250 stores globally next year as part of its plans to consolidate stores and ramp up digital offerings to meet the needs of customers who are increasingly choosing to shop online.

”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,” the company’s chief executive, Helena Helmersson, said in a statement.

The company also said that it was working to improve its supply chain to increase the availability of inventory and the speed of deliveries.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit retailers particularly hard. Many clothing stores shut their doors during the lockdowns, leading to unpaid rents and staff furloughs. H&M reported that in the beginning of the third quarter, roughly 900 of its 5,000 stores were temporarily closed. At the end of the quarter, which ended on Aug. 31, just over 200 stores were still temporarily shut.

“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,” Ms. Helmersson said.

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