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 Swedish-based company also announced it has canceled its plans for dividends.
H&M, one of the world’s largest apparel retailers, has shut all of its stores in its several of its biggest markets, including Germany and the U.S. All stores in the U.K. closed as of last weekend.
As of Monday morning, the company said 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 also said it is considering terminating some employees “due to the negative impact of the corona situation on the business.”
The company said last weekend that it is repurposing its supply chain to help make personal protective equipment, such as masks, to be used in hospitals that are in dire need.