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H&M Falls as Local Lockdowns Delay Recovery, Asian Market Most Hit

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By Dhirendra Tripathi – Hennes&Mauritz stock (ST:HMb) traded 3% lower Wednesday in Stockholm as lockdowns in various markets kept its June-August sales below pre-pandemic levels.

Third-quarter net sales might have risen 9% on-year to 55.58 billion crowns (around $6.57 billion) but were still 11% shy of the 2019 period’s 62.57 billion crowns. The impact of lockdown restrictions was felt more in Asia, the company said. Starting from India in April, markets in Asia were hit badly by the surging delta variant, which forced governments to bring back restrictions on physical stores. As a result, factories and stores were mostly shut during May-June and even later.

H&M has lagged Zara-owner Inditex (MC:ITX) in recovering from the pandemic. The market leader today reported a 7% rise in constant currency in May-July sales compared to the same period in 2019.

H&M started the quarter with 180 of its stores closed and ended the period with around 100 of them still temporarily shut. Most of its markets still have restrictions resulting in reduced footfall, it said.

The Swedish company said sales in store have picked up in many markets while online sales have continued to increase. Excluding Asia and Oceania, sales in local currencies were back at the same level as before the pandemic.

The company said the numbers are provisional and the final print will be released on September 30.

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