As more shoppers move online, many retailers are forced to shut down stores and H&M is now among them.
The major retailer will be shutting down 170 sites in 2018, according to AL. These closings come after H&M reported a 34 percent drop in profit in their fourth quarter, which makes this their largest profit drop in six years. This drastic decrease in sales has been attributed to H&M’s lackluster December and January sales, AL reports.
Most recently, H&M faced major backlash in early January after ad of a young black child wearing a sweatshirt that read “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle,” made its rounds on social media. Many were furious, calling H&M tone-deaf and even racist.
The company eventually apologized for the ad with the following statement to the Washington Post:
“We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”
However, this didn't stop shoppers in South Africa from storming into H&M stores in protest, and tossing mannequins and clothing racks to the floor. Stores were virtually destroyed and protestors were met by riot police and rubber bullets.
Many celebrities protested the ad in their own way, with musician The Weeknd ending his working relationship with the brand. Hip-Hop mogul Diddy offered the model involved a contract with his clothing brand, Sean John.
Despite these closures, the clothing chain still plans to open up to 390 new stores this year.