Fashion retailer H&M mulls tens of thousands of job cuts due to coronavirus

Fast-fashion retailer H&M announced on Monday it is weighing cutting tens of thousands of jobs worldwide temporarily, as it works through interruptions to its business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which is headquartered in Sweden and is one of the biggest apparel retailers in the world, also said in a statement it had canceled its dividend proposal.

H&M has for the time being shut all of its stores in its several of its largest markets, including Germany and the U.S. All stores in the UK also shuttered as of this past weekend.

As of Monday morning, the company said

A total of 3,441 of H&M’s 5,062 stores worldwide are closed as of Monday morning, “which together with subdued demand in the markets that are still open, has had significant negative impact on sales so far in March.”

Faced with declining sales, the company said it was reviewing its business and looking for ways to slash costs.

H&M said it had started talks about temporary layoffs “in a number of markets.” It said the company cannot yet quantify how many people the layoff decision will impact.

The company is also considering terminating some employees, “due to the negative impact of the corona situation on the business.”, it added.

In the meantime, the company had said over the weekend that it was repurposing its supply chain to help make personal protective equipment, including masks, to be used in hospitals that are in dire need.