Dollar General Corp., the rapidly growing discount chain with over 16,300 stores dotting the rural American landscape, wants to attract more high-income shoppers looking to splurge.

The company plans to open a new brand of stores called Popshelf that mostly sells things shoppers don’t need but might want, such as party supplies, home decor or beauty products. Stores will be in the suburbs of larger cities, with two planned for the Nashville, Tenn., area in the next few weeks and 30 by the end of next year. Items will be priced low, mostly under $5, but designed to appeal to women from households that earn as much as $125,000 a year.

DOLLAR TREE TO HIRE OVER 25,000 EMPLOYEES NATIONWIDE

A record number of stores closed in the first half of the year and 18 retailers filed for chapter 11 protection, putting this year on a pace for new highs for bankruptcies and liquidations. While many pandemic lockdowns and temporary closures have been lifted, bricks-and-mortar chains are bracing for much of the spending that moved online to stay there.

Dollar General expects even cash-strapped shoppers to like the idea of “treating themselves without the guilt associated with overspending,” said Emily Taylor, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Executives started working on the new chain about two years ago, but the company isn’t changing course because of the pandemic, Ms. Taylor said.

Many of the categories Popshelf will sell have experienced an uptick in sales during the pandemic, such as home decor, and shoppers are likely to be hunting for bargains in a weakened economy, she said. “The need for this store is very relevant now

AUSTIN, TX — Sweden-based H&M, a low-cost fashion retailer with five Austin-area stores, announced plans to close up to 250 stores next year given diminished foot traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic as a primary cause.

The announcement by parent company H&M Group came in an earnings summary released Thursday.

In September alone, officials noted, sales decreased by 5 percent. Third quarter-sales fell by 16 percent to $5.7 million., according to the earnings report. H&M currently has 166 stores, or about 3 percent of its total number of stores, still closed. At the peak of the pandemic, about 80 percent of H&M’s 5,000 stores worldwide were closed.

“The rapid changes in customer behavior have been accelerated by Covid-19,”company officials wrote in an earnings report. “The H&M group is therefore now stepping up the pace of its transformation work further, with digital investments, optimization of the store portfolio and increasingly integrated channels.”

H&M officials said about a quarter of its stores have a contractual right to renegotiate or exit their leases each year and put the potential closure total at 250 stores.

Specific closures were not disclosed in the earnings report.

“More and more customers started shopping online during the pandemic, and they are making it clear that they value a convenient and inspiring experience in which stores and online interact and strengthen each other,” H&M CEO Helena Helmersson said. “Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger.”

The company operates a handful of stores in the Austin area, including:

  • Lakeline Mall, 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, Texas.

  • The Domain, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace.

  • Hill Country Galleria, 12912 Hill Country Blvd., Suite D2-145.

  • Tanger Outlet San Marcos, 4015 Interstate 35 frontage road,

The fast-fashion retailer plans to lean toward more online shopping.

H&M plans to close 250 stores next year as they struggle with sales during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Swedish fashion retailer announced on Thursday that it plans to close hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which contributed to its 5% sales decline in September.

“More and more customers started shopping online during the pandemic, and they are making it clear that they value a convenient and inspiring experience in which stores and online interact and strengthen each other,” said H&M CEO Helena Helmersson in a statement.

She continued, “To ensure that our offerings are relevant to customers and improve availability in all channels, speed and flexibility will be even more important in the future, particularly in the supply chain.”

H&M currently has more than 5,000 stores, and the upcoming closures will account for 5% of them.

Like many other retailers, the pandemic forced some H&M stores to close resulting in lost revenue.

“Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger,” said Helmersson. “Demand for good value, sustainable products is expected to grow in the wake of the pandemic and our customer offering is well positioned for this.”

She added, “We are now accelerating our transformation work so that we continue to add value for our customer.”

H&M joins a host of other companies, such as Victoria’s Secret, JCPenney and several others, that have announced store closures.

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – H&M plans to close hundreds of stores next year as the coronavirus crisis drives more shoppers online, the world’s second biggest fashion retailer said on Thursday, after reporting a smaller than expected drop in third-quarter profit.

H&M, which over decades expanded its network of shops around the world, will aim to cut their number by a net 250 next year, representing 5% of its current network.

H&M has been shutting more stores and opening fewer over the past couple of years as it adapts to the online shift that is driving more competition. The retailer said earlier this year its net number of stores would decline already in 2020.

The company also said sales had continued to recover in September from the impact of the virus.

Chief Executive Helena Helmersson said: “Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger.”

Rival fashion retail groups have also seen a recovery, with market leader Inditex, the owner of Zara, reporting a return to profit in its May-July quarter.

“Overall, Q3 is a better quarter than expected and we think H&M continued to manage well what they could directly influence,” analysts at JPM said in a note.

“We think that the market is still not fully appreciating the improved quality of H&M business model and infrastructure. We think instead that this set of results is further proof that H&M turnaround is still very much well on track.”

H&M’s shares were up 6.0% at 0804 GMT.

The Swedish company’s pretax profit fell to 2.37 billion crowns ($265.6 million) in its fiscal third quarter, from a year-earlier 5.01 billion. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had on average seen a 2.03 billion crown profit.

H&M had

(Bloomberg) — Hennes & Mauritz AB Chief Executive Officer Helena Helmersson is getting tough in her first year running the Swedish fashion retailer, announcing plans to reduce the store count by 5% next year.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Pedestrians wearing protective masks cross a road in front of a Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. On Sunday, Malaysia saw the highest daily surge in coronavirus cases since Sept. 11, including the emergence of a new cluster in Kuala Lumpur.


© Bloomberg
Pedestrians wearing protective masks cross a road in front of a Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. On Sunday, Malaysia saw the highest daily surge in coronavirus cases since Sept. 11, including the emergence of a new cluster in Kuala Lumpur.

The CEO is making H&M’s biggest retrenchment ever as the pandemic exacerbates its record inventory buildup. The retailer said Thursday it plans to permanently shut 250 stores on a net basis in 2021 after eliminating 50 this year. The stock rose as much as 5.2%.

“After years of overstoring we welcome this change and are encouraged by the magnitude of cuts,” wrote Aneesha Sherman, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

Helmersson’s first year leading the company has been more challenging than she bargained for as Covid-19 has plunged the industry into its worst business conditions in decades. Inventory remains a headache, reaching 21.4% of 12-month revenue. That’s more than double the level of Zara owner Inditex SA. Former CEO Karl-Johan Persson failed to reduce the amount of unsold garments over the past four years.

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The company is also trying to lower costs by renegotiating rental costs. H&M’s lease agreements are structured so that the retailer can renegotiate or exit one quarter of its leases in any given year.

H&M hasn’t reduced the number of stores it operates in any year during the past two decades, during which the total ballooned from 600 to about 5,000.

Third-quarter pretax