Fashion giant H&M has said it plans to shut 170 of its stores across Europe after accelerating closure plans in the face of coronavirus.

The company said that sales dived by a quarter in June as it was still weighed down by the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns in key regions.

The retailer reopened hundreds of its UK stores last month after the Government gave non-essential retailers the green light to welcome customers again.

However, it is unclear at this stage how many of the 300 UK stores would be included in the closure round.

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Weekday, Monki, COS and other brands within the Swedish fashion group are also expected to be affected by the plans.

H&M said in its second quarter report to investors that it increased its previous closure plans by around 40 after feeling the impact of the virus across Europe.

The group also intends to open 130 new stores elsewhere during the current year.

At the end of June, H&M said that 350 of its stores, representing 7% of all sites, were still closed as a result of the pandemic.

Helena Helmersson, chief executive officer of the group, said: "I am full of admiration for our employees' commitment, drive and perseverance during this very challenging time.

"As we have reopened our stores, sales have begun to recover at a faster rate than expected.

"To meet the rapid changes in customer behaviour caused by Covid-19 we are accelerating our digital development, optimising the store portfolio and further integrating the channels.

"With our ambitious sustainability work we want to continue to lead fashion retail towards a more sustainable future."

A new open-air rooftop marketplace featuring street food and drink is opening on Waverley’s iconic roof in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Called Neighbourhood, it will take residency throughout the summer months featuring Edinburgh independent food and drink businesses.

The official line-up so far includes El Cartel Mexican street food, Fire & Dough pizza, Kebbabar kebabs, Linton & Co coffee & brownies and Herringbone in collaboration with Innis & Gunn.

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Jenny Maniam, co-director of Neighbourhood, said: “We wanted to do something that provided an opportunity for some of our colleagues in the hospitality industries who have been hit hard as well as tapping into the incredible public consciousness that has seen a real swing towards supporting local businesses.

"We want to look forward, not back, and celebrate the diverse independent food businesses that help define our city in a safe environment. Edinburgh is going to feel very different this summer and we hope to create something locals can truly enjoy in a way they probably won't ever again.” 

Daryll Bunce, director of innovation at Moorgarth said: “We are delighted to welcome Neighbourhood to our excellent rooftop area at Waverley to enjoy some of the best quality street food and drink that our city has to offer.

"We are extremely pleased to work together on this new and exciting collaboration to launch Neighbourhood’s summer rooftop market and explore further future collaborations.

"We feel very strongly about supporting local independent businesses and retailers especially during these times. We want to work together to give them an opportunity to shine as they make a comeback and provide a very current and relevant offering to our customers as we welcome them back to the city centre.”

Polypipe said it plans to cut 250 jobs across its workforce as it forecast that construction industry demand will be significantly hurt by the pandemic over the next year.

Shares in the company slipped after it said it expects demand for new-build houses to be 20% lower in 2021 than in 2019, while it also expects commercial demand to be 18% lower.

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The company, which makes plastic piping for the construction sector and has a site in Glasgow, said it has seen an improvement in revenue in recent months, although total sales for the six months to June 30 were 24% lower year on year.

However, the company said it "remains confident" it is taking the necessary actions to secure sustainable returns in the long term.

Shares were 4.1% lower at 430.5p.

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