H&M Expects Furloughed Staff at Headquarters to Return to Work in July

About 2,500 employees at H&M’s headquarters in Stockholm are set to return to work this summer.

The Swedish fast-fashion giant confirmed that it expects its furloughed staff members at its HQ to go back to their offices in July. It said that none of those temporary layoffs would be cancelled before that month.

“Currently, we are not planning to apply for an extended period of short-term work for our employees at the head office in Sweden for the period July-October,” an H&M spokesperson added in an email exchange with FN, addressing potential reductions in employee work hours. The spokesperson further noted that the company would be able to share more information “further on.”

In March, the retailer had been in talks to reduce staffing costs through the temporary reduction of hours for tens of thousands of employees. It made the decision to furlough a portion of its workforce in the United States, while stores in some of its biggest markets — also including Germany and the United Kingdom — remained closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, about 30% of the retailer’s fleet — composed of more than 5,000 stores in 74 markets — is still shuttered to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has sickened more than 5.61 million people around the world and killed at least 351,100 others.

Early last month, H&M announced it had secured a 980 million-euro, or $1.1 billion, revolving credit facility to help cushion its business amid the health crisis. The new yearlong bank facility came with the option of a six-month extension. The company also has an undrawn facility worth 700 million euros, or $760 million, which it signed in 2017 and is set to mature in 2024.

H&M has warned that it was expecting to post a quarterly loss for the first time in decades in the next three-month period, or its second quarter. Although consumers were still able to shop online, the retailer said it had seen a “significant negative impact” on revenues in March, coupled with “subdued demand” in the markets that remained open.

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