Fashion company Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) made losses in the first quarter of its broken financial year, which runs in Sweden from December to February. Shop closures as a result of coronavirus measures bothered the company. In part because of this, H & M also had to sell off the remaining stock after the Christmas period.

All this resulted in a gross loss of 1.4 billion Swedish krona, or some 135 million euros. The first quarter is usually the weakest quarter for H & M, as the sale after Christmas falls in that period. For the rest of the year, H&M is more positive and foresees a strong recovery. That is a very different sound than in January when top woman Helena Helmersson said that the fashion chain was still in “crisis mode”.

In March, H&M saw revenue increase by 55 percent compared to a year earlier. This comparison is somewhat flawed because the coronavirus crisis only struck countries in Europe and North America during that period and therefore more shops closed than in March this year.

H & M also commented on the situation in China, where the company is boycotted by consumers due to a one-year-old statement that Cotton from Xinjiang is no longer purchased. In that region of China, the human rights of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority more ethnically related to Central Asian peoples than to Chinese, are under severe pressure. China locks the Uyghurs in what it calls re-education camps and forces them to work in cotton cultivation, among other things. The controversy over H&M’s statement was stirred up by Chinese state media and the Communist Party youth movement.

H & M has been active in China for 30 years and sees the country as an important market. At the same time, the company wants to buy responsibly, both in China and abroad, and help suppliers meet the company’s requirements. H&M also wants to regain the trust of its Chinese customers and business partners in the Asian country.

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