H&M closes U.S. stores amid protests, says it stands behind black community

FILE PHOTO: The H&M clothing store is seen in Times Square in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Tuesday it had temporarily closed 95 of its stores in the United States because of the violent protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

“We have closed 95 stores temporarily due to the protests,” an H&M spokesman told Reuters.

The protests erupted across the United States after the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American on May 25.

On Monday, demonstrators set fire to a strip mall in Los Angeles, looted stores in New York City and clashed with police in St Louis, Missouri.

In a statement, H&M, which has around 600 stores in the United States, said: “The recent killings of more members of the black community in the U.S. leave us devastated and heartbroken. Their lives, and the lives of all black people taken by violence, mattered.”

The statement, signed by CEO Helena Helmersson, said H&M was committed to taking tangible steps to challenge racism and support colleagues, customers and communities.

H&M also said it would to donate $500,000 to U.S. civil rights and law firm the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, civil rights advocacy group Color of Change, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander. Editing by Jane Merriman