H&M has confirmed media reports that it is closing a further four of its stores in the UK as part of a wider reorganisation of its physical estate.
The Swedish fashion giant launched a cost-cutting programme last year which would result in 1,500 job losses globally.
Responding to media reports that the company will close stores in Burton, Hartlepool, Maidenhead, and Newport in Isle of Wight, the company said it sometimes needs to close stores to “enable long-term growth”.
It follows a report in November that H&M had closed one in five of its UK-based stores in the past few years.
A spokesperson at H&M UK and Ireland told FashionUnited: “During the last few years, we have seen a rapid change in customer behaviour that we cannot ignore. We continuously need to evaluate and develop our business to meet our customers’ needs and offer the best possible shopping experience, whether it’s online or in our physical stores.
“Our ambition is to continue investing in our customers, open new stores where we see opportunities and develop our digital channels. We continuously evaluate how we should invest in stores and sometimes decisions must be made to enable long-term growth. This means that we sometimes need to close stores.
“Customer behaviour is constantly changing, and we need to adapt accordingly. We want to be where our customers are. The physical store is still extremely important to us and will be a place for customers to shop, discover and be inspired. At H&M, we are constantly working to integrate physical and digital stores. We want to find the strength in each channel and make the customer journey smooth.”
H&M said last year it expects its cost-cutting programme to save the business around 2 billion Swedish krona annually.
It is one of many big-name fashion businesses, including high street giants Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, to have announced plans to streamline its store estate in recent years to adapt to changing consumer shopping behaviours.