Fashion giants H&M and Zara owner Inditex have revealed fresh sales slowdowns due to restrictions to curb the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
H&M - the world’s second largest clothes retailer - said sales fell by more than a fifth at the end of its fourth quarter to November 30 due to temporary store closures and as fewer customers visited its shops amid tightening restrictions.
The Swedish group saw sales overall fall 10pc in local currencies in the three months to November 30, with declines widening from 3pc earlier in the quarter to 22pc between October 22 and November 30.
H&M said that, after a “strong recovery” in its third quarter, sales tumbled at the end of the fourth quarter “as the recovery transitioned into a new slowdown as a result of the pandemic’s second wave”.
Spanish rival Inditex said sales falls narrowed to 14pc in local currencies over its third quarter to October 31 from as much as 44pc in the first quarter.
It also saw the rebound brought to a sudden halt as tighter coronavirus restrictions forced it to close stores.
The chain said sales recovered to prior year levels in early October, before falling to 81pc of year-earlier levels in November as more restrictions came into effect.
This lifted to 87pc of year-earlier levels in the first 10 days of December, although it said 8pc of its stores remain closed, with an extra 10pc having to shut during the weekends.
Inditex reported net profits of €866m for its third quarter, down from €1.17bn a year earlier.
H&M said its fourth quarter performance left local currency sales 18pc lower overall in its full year, with net sales down 20pc at 187 billion Swedish krona (€18.3bn).
Over the fourth quarter, net sales fell 15pc to 52.5bn Swedish krona, with the biggest declines recorded in Spring.