H&M reports on Friday that sales in March fell by 46 percent from the same month a year earlier. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Swedish clothing retailer to temporarily close most stores. There are also a large number of jobs at risk.

"As a result of this dramatic decline, we have to make many difficult decisions. Everyday when the stores have to remain closed, the situation becomes more acute," said general manager Helena Helmersson in a statement.

The retail chain emphasizes that it will remain accessible via the website. H&M will not charge shipping costs during the corona crisis and has considerably extended the exchange and return period for purchases.

Follow the latest developments around the virus in our live blog.

The coronavirus in short

  • The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person via sneezing and cough drops. The chance of becoming infected through surfaces such as door handles is small. This chance decreases if you wash your hands often.
  • You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from others.
  • The corona measures have resulted in an infected person infecting less than one other person on average. Previously, this so-called reproduction number was between two and three.
  • The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
  • Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
  • Read here what precautions you should take.