H&M India expects its top-line sales will decline for the first time since it launched in the market in 2015, due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the nation’s retail market this year.
Country manager for India, Janne Einola, quoted in the Business Standard, said sales for the first nine months are down by 31 per cent.
“Currently, our operations here are at the 50 per cent level. I don’t think we will be able to touch last year’s sales numbers in 2020,” he said.
H&M India achieved 14-per-cent sales growth last year, however that was well down on 2018’s rate of 43 per cent.
The company’s sales topped US$2.319 million in the financial year to November 30 2019, continuing its run of double-digit year-on-year growth.
Covid-19 has also stalled the company’s store-opening program. Just two new outlets have opened this calendar year, compared with 12 last year and eight in 2018.
This year’s openings, in Bhubaneswar and Lucknow, take the network to 50 stores in 25 cities.
While physical store sales have declined significantly, only is making up for some of the lost ground during the Covid crisis. H&M India sells on its own online store as well as through the local Myntra marketplace.
“The share of online will continue to remain high for the moment, until the situation normalises,” Einola said. Last year, e-commerce accounted for almost 25 per cent of overall sales.