Fashion shift online picks up even as stores reopen – Reuters

Written by Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) – Retailers selling fashion online are emerging as the winners of the coronavirus crisis as consumers are staying home even as stores start to reopen, results from major companies showed on Thursday.

Shares in Zalando (ZALG.DE), Europe’s biggest online-only fashion retailer, jumped 11% to a new record high after it said it expects full-year sales growth of 10-20%.

RBC analyst Sherri Malek said the fact Zalando had added 39% more new customers in April was “evidence of the accelerated consumer shift from offline to online”.

In contrast, H&M (HMb.ST), the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said local currency sales had tumbled 57% in the March 1-May 6 period, while online sales grew almost a third.

H&M started to gradually reopen stores from late last month, but 3,050 or 60% remain closed.

In Germany, its biggest market where the lockdown has been gradually lifted in recent weeks, sales were down 46% so far in the second quarter, and they fell a third in China.

“In those markets that have begun to open up, trade in the stores has initially been muted,” it said on Thursday in a statement ahead of its annual general meeting later in the day.

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