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This Popular Clothing Chain Just Announced It's Closing 250 Stores

The mega popular global retailer is the most recent shopping casualty of the pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has put an unprecedented crunch on almost every industry, but there are few that have been as deeply affected as retail businesses. In the months since COVID-19 first began spreading across the U.S., thousands of retail companies have been forced to permanently close. Now, the growing list of businesses that have been forced to shutter stores can add H&M to its roster. The popular global clothing retailer just announced on Oct. 1 that it would be closing 250 of its stores due to a slump in sales caused by COVID.

With just over 5,000 stores around the world in operation, the forthcoming closures would represent a loss of five percent of H&M's current retail footprint, CNN reports. The fast-fashion company has yet to announce exactly which stores it will be closing over the next year.

In a statement, a spokesperson for H&M acknowledged the already-changing business landscape that has been accelerated by the spread of the novel coronavirus, saying "more and more customers started shopping online during the pandemic."

H&M store front, brand acronym names

H&M—whose full corporate name is Hennes & Mauritz AB—was founded as a women's clothing store in 1947 in Stockholm, Sweden. In the years since, the company's growth has skyrocketed, with stores operating in 74 countries around the world as of November 2019. Until the pandemic, H&M had seen massive expansion over the past decade in particular, more than doubling its 2,325 stores at the end of 2011 to its pre-shutdown number of 5,076 locations.

During the height of the pandemic, 80 percent of H&M's stores were closed, assuring some analysts that the company had made the necessary adjustments to weather the adverse climate. "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," Helena Helmersson, H&M's CEO, said in a statement.

Despite the hundreds of stores H&M is shutting down, other companies have been closing their doors for good in recent months. Read on to find out the brands that won't survive the pandemic, and for more shops that are shrinking in number, check out This Beloved Retail Chain Could Be Closing a Store Near You.

Lord & Taylor

Lord and Taylor store with closing sale sign

As one of the nation's most prominent department stores, Lord & Taylor made headlines on Aug. 27 when it announced that it had filed for bankruptcy and would be shuttering all 38 of its stores for good. "We believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the Company's brands," Ed Kremer, the company's chief restructuring office, said in a statement. And for more store closure news, This Beloved Retail Chain Could Be Closing a Store Near You.

Stein Mart

A Stein Mart location in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Stein Mart is a chain of department stores in the US.

Shortly after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August, discount retailer Stein Mart announced that it would permanently shutter all 280 of its locations after 112 years in business. Its now-empty storefronts are already being offered to new tenants by A&G real estate partners, according to a Sept. 14 announcement. And for more up-to-date retail info, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Century 21

century 21 department store exterior

In a city full of global brands, New York managed to lose one of its popular home-grown retailers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic: Century 21. The company announced on Sept. 10 that it would be closing all of its 13 locations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania after nearly to 60 years in business. But you can't say the store didn't go down swinging: "Our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today, have turned their backs on us at this most critical time," Century 21 co-CEO Raymond Gindi said in a statement. And for more retailers that have fallen victim to the pandemic, check out This Beloved Home Store Is Closing More Than Half of Its Locations.

Neiman Marcus

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - May 24, 2014: The Neiman Marcus location on Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. Neiman Marcus is a chain of luxury department stores with locations across the US.

Neiman Marcus was the first department store to file for bankruptcy amid coronavirus in May, citing "unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic." However, the chain announced that it's only shuttering 22 of its locations across the country, according to Business Insider, and on Sept. 25, Neiman Marcus emerged from bankruptcy, which means you may still be able to find one open near you.


nordstrom store entrance

Nordstrom is yet another beloved department store that announced the closure of a good number of its locations, saying that 16 would shutter in the coming months along with all three of the company's high-end designer-focused Jeffrey stores. Fortunately, the company's discount store, Nordstrom Rack, will not be affected by the changes, Business Insider reports. And for more stores we had to say goodbye to, check out these 17 Once-Beloved Department Stores That Are Now Defunct.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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