The company that owns fashion retailer H&M said it would likely implement tens of thousands of layoffs as it reels from the coronavirus pandemic.
With H&M stores closed in the U.S., Germany and elsewhere, Hennes & Mauritz AB said Monday it has begun "dialogue about temporary layoffs" that are "likely" to affect tens of thousands of workers, "although it is not currently possible to specify the exact number."
H&M had more than 123,000 employees in 2018, according to its most recent annual report.
"The company is also reviewing the potential need to terminate employment due to the negative impact of the corona situation on the business," H&M said in a statement.
H&M is also reviewing other elements of its business, including purchasing, spending decisions and rent payments.
The move comes amid an expected tidal wave of layoffs across the retail, restaurant and travel sectors, which have been decimated by the COVID-19 outbreak.
National mall companies that house many of H&M's stores have already announced temporary closures, including Simon Property Group and Taubman Centers.
H&M said 3,441 of the company's 5,062 stores throughout the world are closed.
“We are doing everything in our power in the H&M group to manage the situation related to the coronavirus," H&M CEO Helena Helmersson said in a statement. "My hope is that we will be able to get operations up and running again as soon as possible and welcome back all our customers in all our 74 store markets."