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Fashion retailer H&M weighs tens of thousands of job cuts because of coronavirus

General view of the closed H&M store, at Avenue des Champs Elysees, in the 8th quarter of Paris, as the city imposes emergency measures to combat the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, on March 16, 2020 in Paris, France.

Edward Berthelot | Getty Images

Fast-fashion retailer H&M said Monday it is weighing laying off tens of thousands of workers worldwide temporarily, as it works through interruptions to its business from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The company also announced it has canceled its dividend proposal. 

H&M, which is headquartered in Sweden and is one of the biggest apparel retailers in the world, has for the time being shuttered all of its stores in its several of its largest markets, including Germany and the U.S. All stores in the U.K. closed as of this past weekend. 

As of Monday morning, the company said a total of 3,441 of its 5,062 stores worldwide are closed, “which together with subdued demand in the markets that are still open, has had significant negative impact on sales so far in March.” 

Faced with slumping sales, H&M said it is reviewing its business and looking for ways to cut costs. It said it has started talks about temporary layoffs “in a number of markets.” It said it cannot yet quantify how many people this will impact. H&M said it is also considering terminating some employees, “due to the negative impact of the corona situation on the business.” 

The company, meantime, had said over the weekend that it was repurposing its supply chain to help make personal protective equipment, such as masks, to be used in hospitals that are in dire need. 

Read the full release from H&M.

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