In a statement H&M explained: “Having stores at the right locations and being competitive has always been fundamental to our company. We consistently evaluate and optimise our store portfolio to align with our overall strategy, focused on exceeding customer expectations.”
The retailer added that “H&M Spain is proposing to close 28 stores in Spain” as part of its commitment being “grounded in adapting and refining” its store portfolio to “meet the dynamic needs and expectations” of its customers.
News publication Reuters, claimed local unions shared that 28 stores equates to “more than a fifth” of the total number of stores in Spain and would mean laying off 588 workers in the country, which were described as being home to bigger rival Zara, owned by Inditex.
Reuters pointed out H&M’s annual report suggested it had 133 stores and employed almost 4,000 people in Spain.
The news publication also claimed CCOO union leader Angeles Rodriguez said the unions were surprised by the layoff announcement with her quoted as saying: “The company never showed any weird behaviour and was complying with a pay raise agreed last year.” she said.
However, H&M told Just Style it has already informed its social partners of the closures and “will work closely with the employees’ representatives to ensure a constant dialogue between both parties”.
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The retailer was keen to highlight that it is “committed to approaching this matter with the utmost respect” and it “remains a priority for H&M to support and guide” its “teams during this process”.
In November 2022 H&M shared plans to restructure the business due to rising inflation and the energy crisis, which was said to put approximately 1,500 jobs at risk.
At that time, the company announced a restructuring programme that aimed to reduce administrative and overhead costs, and also entailed reducing the workforce by around 1,500 positions.