H&M Closes Outlet in San Francisco’s Powell Street Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

3 mins read

Global clothing store brand H&M recently closed down its largest San Francisco store outlet on Powell Street last October due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and dwindling revenue.

This week, the famous Swedish retailer confirmed the branch’s closure in Union Square would be permanent. However, officials noted that several outlets in Westfield San Francisco Centre and Stonestown Galleria would continue operating.

In a statement, the company said, “Looking at our store portfolio and the location of our stores to adapt to changing customer behavior is something that has been part of our business concept for well over 70 years, and we will constantly optimize and refine our physical store portfolio.”

The massive 35,000-square-foot store in Powell Street first opened in 2015 and became the brand’s flagship store on the West Coast. The company then said that they chose the store to represent in the area due to its European feel. The U.S. manager for H&M at the time, Sanna Lindberg, said that the region had more of a city center.

Similar to other shopping districts across the nation, San Francisco’s Union Square has seen a decline in customers and travelers due to restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. While more people begin to order online, more and more stores in the area have been forced to close down, the San Francisco Gate reported.

H&M has also announced that it plans to close about 250 stores starting next year because of the effects of the COVID-19 health crisis. The company has over 5,000 outlets globally, which makes Thursday’s announcement only include about 5% of all its stores.

In a statement, the company said that customers have begun to shift more towards online shopping due to the restrictions on traveling and social distancing. Since the beginning of the health crisis, the brand has seen a peak of 80% of its total outlets temporarily closing down to stifle the virus’s spread.

The company observed a slow recovery of sales during its third quarter, covering June to August, due to some stores beginning to reopen and opportunities in online shopping. However, September numbers saw a 5% reduction in a year-by-year comparison.

CEO Helena Helmersson said that despite the difficulties of the pandemic being far from over, the company believed that the worst effects are behind them and are prepared to start recovering from the recession, ABC7 News reported.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.