H&M has not signified Philippine stores included in global pruning – SM

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — Six years after opening its first Philippine store at the high-end wing of SM Megamall, Swedish retailer H&M has not yet signified if the Filipino market is included in its global pruning.

The Nasdaq Nordic exchange-listed H&M announced on Thursday it is trimming 250 stores worldwide as shoppers turn online amid a raging pandemic.

But that plan apparently does not count in the Philippines yet.

“We have not heard. We are still working on renovating with them in Makati and no notice of change,” Tessie Sy, vice chairperson of SM Investments Corporation, told CNN Philippines on Friday when asked if the Stockholm-listed retailer implied closing some, if not all, of its Philippine stores.

H&M, a global brand with 5,000 stores worldwide, does not have a Philippine partner. It ventured the Philippine market on its own in 2014, opening its very first local store in SM Mega Fashion Hall in Mandaluyong City. That wing at SM Megamall was newly built back then, housing premium and international retailers.

The fast-fashion retailer has then expanded to another mall, Robinsons. The Gokongwei-led mall operator has yet to respond to CNN Philippines’ query.

H&M’s local representative – Dan Mejia, head of communications and press – issued a statement late Friday, saying H&M Philippines is “still looking at expanding offline and online in the coming years to keep adapting to the demands and changing needs of our customers.”

The store closure announcement emanating from its Swedish headquarters “is part of our continuous store portfolio optimization globally and it differs from market to market,” the statement read.

“The figure is on an aggregated level and we cannot go into details on concrete numbers or markets at this point. Our physical stores remain incredibly important and we want to ensure that we have the right stores in the right locations,” it added.

On its Twitter account on Thursday, H&M Philippines announced that it has tapped Zalora to allow shopping online starting October 2 until Nov. 30.

The shift to online shopping has been unnerving retailers, as it means its brick and mortar stores would play a smaller role and just add up to operating costs.

But from the looks of it, H&M’s Philippine business is holding up well, announcing recently that its sister brand Monki has opened shops at SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia in September.