By Ryan Velez
Blavity reports that H&M is another casualty of people transferring from retail to online shopping, as the clothing chain will be shutting down 70 sites in 2018, according to AL. These closings come after H&M reported a 34 percent drop in profit in their fourth quarter, which makes this their largest profit drop in six years. This drastic decrease in sales has been attributed to H&M’s lackluster December and January sales, AL reports.
People will likely draw a parallel between this and the recent controversy regarding one of H&M’s ads. Here is some of our previous coverage:
“After releasing an advertisement featuring a Black child wearing a hoodie saying “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle,” the hits kept on coming for the Swedish clothing retailer.
“First was the firestorm of criticism from social media. Then The Weeknd and G-Eazy announced that they would no longer work with H&M. Now, the clothing store has yet another issue, as it shut down all its stores in South Africa following violent protests in several locations.
H&M said in a statement that it’s “aware of the recent events inside several of our South African stores,” and it has “temporarily” closed all stores in the country. According to the company’s website, H&M has 17 locations in South Africa.
“None of our staff or customers have been injured,” H&M said. “We continue to monitor the situation closely and will open the stores as soon as the situation is safe again.”
H&M issued a statement: “[W]e apologize to anyone this may have offended.”
The company said it would also “investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”
In its statement, H&M went further.
“We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable,” the statement reads. “We stress that our wonderful store staff had nothing to do with our poorly judged product and image.” There is a shred of truth to this statement, as the divide between advertising execs who came up with it and the people who approved the ads versus the hourly workers most affected by the protests is massive.”
Ironically closing down the stores immediate hurts those hourly workers more than the people who should be targets of people’s ire.