H&M fashion chain to lay off staff and close 30 stores in Spain

A H&M store. File photograph.
A H&M store. File photograph. / EFE
  • Around 1,100 employees will be affected as the retail industry experiences a 'great change' as a result of the pandemic

The Swedish clothing and fashion accessories chain H&M announced this Tuesday (6 April) its intention to close 30 stores in Spain and lay off about 1,100 employees while carrying out a "substantial" modification of working conditions.

The company says that the retail industry is experiencing a "great change" as a result of the pandemic and digitisation due to the "constant growth of online".

For this reason, the group will carry out a "transformation and reorganisation" process worldwide to have a "more efficient" structure and integrate physical and online stores.

To achieve this it will close 350 stores around the world. In Spain this will affect 30 of its 150 stores - 27 H&M and three COS stores - this year, although the company acknowledges that it may take until 2022.

In a statement the chain said that its objective is "to maintain as many jobs as possible", and this ERE layoff will affect about 1,100 employees in Spain, around 17 per cent of its total workforce of about 6,200 workers split between stores and warehouses.

The company has said that it will prioritise voluntary redundancies to "minimise" the impact.

The CC OO union, which represents a majority of the staff, has described the step from the ERTE furlough scheme to ERE as "unjustified and disproportionate".

The union says that although they understand that there has been a change in the way people shop following the pandemic, "this does not justify in any way such a number of layoffs, especially as H&M has been benefiting from the ERTE scheme that the Government introduced during the pandemic," they claim.

Locally, the fashion chain has H&M stores in Marbella, Fuengirola, Malaga and Vélez-Málaga, as well as COS in Malaga and Marbella, but it is not yet known how the company's plans will affect them.