- AffiliationH&M Group
- 2020 Rank4
It’s been a tumultuous year for Helmersson, CEO of fashion behemoth H&M Group. After global profits dropped by 17% in 2020, the group started 2021 with more than a third of its total stores closed as a result of the pandemic. But by midyear, most had reopened, bringing back footfall and helping sales in local currencies jump 75% from the previous year, while online sales also jumped sharply. Meanwhile, the efforts Helmersson, the group’s one-time chief of sustainability, made to push the business toward renewable materials has paid off as concerns over the climate impact of the fashion industry have deepened. But geopolitics, too, made this year rocky: A statement about H&M’s concern over reports of forced labor in Xinjiang drew swift backlash in China. E-commerce sites in the country dropped its brands, while many of its stores were closed in the region, denting its growth there.
Subscribe to The Broadsheet, our newsletter on the world’s most powerful women.