Russians rush to buy imported goods as retail giants close in Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered its 10th day and the first appears increasingly isolated from a slew of government sanctions and the closure of major tech stores and retailers in the region.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, American and European tech and retail giants quickly shut down operations across Russia. This has prompted dozens of Russians to buy imported consumer goods for fear of a falling ruble and sanctions.

Here’s a roundup of retail businesses that have suspended product shipments or closed shop.

Big Tech Apple Inc closed stores and suspended product sales in Russia after Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo pleaded with the company to pull out of Russia.

Fast fashion retailer Asos Plc said it was halting sales in Russia. In 2021, Russia and Ukraine accounted for around 4% of revenue. The company suspended sales in Ukraine after the invasion.

British online clothing seller Boohoo Group Plc has suspended operations, while fashion house Burberry Group Plc has also halted shipments to Russia. However, Burberry still has stores open in the country. Another British retailer, Marks & Spencer Group Plc, has suspended shipments to the Russian operations of its Turkish franchisee.

Swedish furniture giant IKEA had suspended all Ikea-branded retail operations in Russia, exports and imports to and from Russia and Belarus, and deliveries from contractors. For the 15,000 employees affected, he said he was looking to provide “income stability” in the short term. Another Swedish clothing retailer H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) has temporarily suspended sales in Russia, where the retailer has 155 stores. 2020 year-end report, Russia is the company’s seventh largest market.

French luxury brand Hermes International has announced that it will temporarily close its stores in Russia and suspend all business activities. Another French luxury group LVMH is temporarily closing its 124 stores in Russia, AFP reported. The company has 3,500 employees in Russia, according to WWD.

The furnishing giant Ikea. A statement on Ikea Russia’s website said it was immediately suspending sales in stores and online, and only orders placed and paid for by March 3 will be fulfilled. The company added that its MEGA Family malls, which are malls with grocery stores and pharmacies, will remain open.

Kering, owner of Gucci and other luxury brands, said it would temporarily close its directly operated stores in Russia due to “increasing concerns about the current situation in Europe”.

Spanish fashion retailer Mango is closing its 55 company stores in Russia, suspending online sales and halting deliveries to the country. Its 65 franchisees are allowed to remain open subject to product availability. The company has 800 employees in Russia, according to Reuters.

Footwear giant Nike Inc. is temporarily closing company-owned and operated stores in Russia, but the company told Bloomberg it will continue to pay store workers during the closings. It also halts e-commerce sales in the country.

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