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Fashion chain H&M is closing its flagship store in Shanghai

The consequences of the corona crisis and the Uyghur problem are taking their toll on the Swedish fashion chain H&M. In the Chinese economic metropolis of Shanghai, the world number two behind Inditex (Zara) is now closing its flagship store. The three-story store, which opened in 2007 and was still open this month, lacked any sign of H&M on Friday.

For the Swedes, the closure of their former flagship and first store in China is another sign of the problems in the People’s Republic. Like its competitors, H&M is struggling with recent lockdowns, but also with reactions to the company’s refusal to use cotton from Xinjiang province.

Experts accuse China of being responsible for serious human rights violations against the Muslim Uyghur minority there. There are also reports of forced labor, about which H&M expressed concern last year. Other companies such as Inditex, Nike and Adidas no longer use cotton from the Uyghur region, which is why China has already called for a boycott of their clothing.

In the meantime, H&M operated more than 500 branches on the Chinese mainland, at the beginning of the year there were only 376. The products are also not available on important Chinese online marketplaces such as JD.com or Tmall. The company did not want to comment on the Shanghai business with reference to its confidentiality before the publication of the quarterly figures.

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