STOCKHOLM— On October 1, Sweden-based clothing store, H&M, announced they will close 250 stores in 2021. The retailer is known for its affordable fashion, and has several locations across the Bay Area, including one store in Emeryville, one in Daly City, and three in downtown San Francisco. They have approximately 5,000 locations across the world total, according to statistics from their website.

The exact causes for the store closures are unknown, but it is attributed to the pandemic. “COVID-19 is speeding up the digital shift in the industry as more and more shopping takes place online. To meet customers’ expectations of a convenient, inspiring experience enabled by interacting channels, the company’s transformation work is being further accelerated. This relates to, among other things, increased digital investments, further integration of online and physical stores as well as an acceleration of store consolidation,” H&M explained in a public statement released October 1.

“Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger,” H&M CEO Helena Helmersson said in a press release.

According to a yearly financial report released from H&M, the company experienced a 5% decrease year-on-year in local currencies, which followed 19% decrease in sales between the months of June to August 2020. Despite the decrease in sales, H&M reports that currently only 3% of H&M’s total worldwide stores are closed, compared to their previous closure of 80% of stores at the start of shelter-in-place orders.

H&M has not released the locations that will close yet, those decisions on the stores that will close are expected to be made next year.