VIRGINIA — H&M, a low-cost fashion retailer based in Sweden with stores in many northern Virginia malls and the District of Columbia, said it plans to close up to 250 stores next year because of decreased foot traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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

In September alone, sales decreased by 5 percent. 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.

Many stores that are open still have local restrictions and limited opening hours, officials said. For example, many mall stores in Virginia do not open until 11 a.m. and close an hour or more earlier than they did before the pandemic. More customers are shopping online, the report notes.

Even before boutiques and malls were shut down by the coronavirus outbreak, traditional brick-and-mortar establishments were losing revenue and customers to e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Target and Walmart.

“The rapid changes in customer behavior have been accelerated by COVID-19,” according to the 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 stores slate for closure were not disclosed in the earnings report.

H&M’s DC and Virginia stores include:

  • King Street in Alexandria

  • Chesterfield Towne Center in Richmond

  • Dulles Town Center in Dulles

  • Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax

  • Greenbrier Mall in Chesapeake

  • Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach

  • MacArthur Center in Norfolk

  • Manassas Mall in Manassas

  • Norfolk Premium Outlets in Norfolk

  • Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News

  • Potomac Mills in Woodbridge

  • Short Pump Town Center in Richmond

  • Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights

  • Spotsylvania Towne Centre in Fredericksburg

  • Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond

  • Tysons Corner Center in McLean

  • Valley Mall in Harrisonburg

  • Valley View Mall in Roanoke

  • The Shops at Georgetown Park in Washington, D.C.

  • F Street in Washington, D.C.

  • Union Station in Washington, D.C.

  • Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Other chains that are closing some of their Virginia stores include the Gap, Pier 1 Imports, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sears, Kmart, Motherhood Maternity, Dressbarn and more.

The parent company of clothing retailers including Justice, Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor, LOFT, Catherine’s, Lou & Grey and Cacique filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2020. Ascena Retail Group announced plans to close about half its 2,800 stores.

In Virginia, 17 Justice stores will reportedly close. The “tween” clothing store, which caters to girls ages 6 to 12, has more than 800 stores across the country. Nine Catherine’s stores in Virginia will all close, and LOFT Outlet will close in Potomac Mills Mall, 2700 Potomac Mills Circle, according to Business Insider.

Two Gap clothing stores in Virginia closed in January 2020. The store closure was part of a plan announced in February 2019 to close 230 stores across the country.

Papyrus, a stationery retailer, closed all of its stores across the country in 2020, according to Fortune. The chain operates three Washington, D.C., stores and six Virginia stores, including shops in McLean, Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax.

In January, Pier 1 said it would likely close half of its stores to “better align its business with the current operating environment.”

A dozen Virginia stores, including one each in Manassas, Falls Church, Arlington and Alexandria, were removed from the chain’s website. The company confirmed on social media the stores removed from the website were slated for closure. Patch has posted the full list of the 12 Pier 1 stores expected to close.

The women’s clothing store Avenue is closing more than 200 locations across the country, including three stores in Virginia. Read more.

A record 9,300-plus store closings were announced in 2019, and that number could be even higher in 2020, according to a report by Business Insider.


This article originally appeared on the Georgetown Patch