“During the first nine months, we have suffered sales loss to the tune of 31 per cent. Currently, our operations here are at the 50 per cent level. I don’t think we will be able to touch last year’s sales numbers in 2020,” he said. H&M follows a December to November financial year calendar.
The impact was also felt on its short-term plans. While in 2018 and 2019, it had opened eight and 12 stores, respectively, this year it is opening only two outlets in Bhubaneswar and Lucknow. This will take its store count to 50, spread across 25 cities in India.
While H&M was heavily dependent on the online channel for sales, the recent crisis has increased its dependence on the channel further.
In 2019, it got nearly a quarter of its sales from the two online channels – Myntra marketplace and its own online store. “The share of online will continue to remain high for the moment, until the situation normalises,” said Einola.
To support its business, H&M is launching its global loyalty programme in India and hopes that it will bring more consumers on board.