H&M, Zara to Close Stores, Eyes Growth in E-Commerce

Both Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and Zara are slated to reduce physical stores in 2019. The decision reportedly stemmed from the companies’ struggles to increase its revenues for the past year. Despite closing physical stores, both companies are investing more resources to grow their respective e-commerce reach.

According to an article by Fortune, Hennes & Mauritz will close some of its Monki and Weekday stores alongside its H&M shops. Meanwhile, Inditex, the Spain-based company behind Zara, will also be closing Massimo Dutti.

In 2018, H&M has closed down 140 shops, with plans of continuing this strategy to focus their efforts on online sales. Based on Hypebae’s article, the store openings will come down at 130 from the initial number of 175.

Similarly, Zara will be closing yet another 250 shops in this year alone. In 2018, Hypebae reports that is closed 355 physical stores. Despite closing up numerous stores, the company still plans on opening 300 more in the future.

While both companies are looking to shut down many of its physical shops around the globe, both are still looking forward to growing its e-commerce sales. Fortune reports that Inditex made online sales open for a variety of countries, including Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates. In total, Inditex currently serves around 500 million consumers.

To gain a wider reach, Inditex plans to make their 2019 fall and winter collections available to other countries as well. Some of the countries being eyed by this parent company include Bahrein, Colombia, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, South Africa, and Ukraine. For these countries, Inditex is slated to serve an additional audience of 275 million, says Fortune.

On the other hand, H&M plans to make huge improvements in its online store, such as providing flexible payment systems, faster delivery times, enhanced product presentations, and easier site navigation.