H&M recently closed one of its Shanghai flagship stores on Nanjing West Road. The store, which opened a decade ago, has traditionally been considered an important physical retail space for the brand, along with its Huaihai Road flagship, as both are located in highly visible positions on major shopping thoroughfares.
The company said in a statement to Chinese media that the closure was due to the expiration of its lease, and added that it will continue to review locations and market trends as it develops its business in China.
According to reports from Bloomberg and The New York Times, landlords in other parts of China have reportedly forced the closure of H&M stores around the country, at least temporarily, following controversy that flared in late March about the brand’s stance on using cotton sourced from China’s northwest Xinjiang region. At present, H&M products remain unavailable on major e-commerce platforms, including Tmall and JD.com.
Chinese business media outlet Jiemian also posited the store’s closure may be related to a local government plan to renovate the area, as most of its neighbouring stores have also closed.
Affected by the global pandemic, H&M’ s first-quarter 2021 results showed a 21 percent fall in sales and a loss of 1.39 billion kroner ($223.05 million). The company’s chief executive has estimated it will close 250 stores this year.