Nike, Ikea, Asos join a growing list of global retailers spurning Russia

(Source: Reuters/Oleksandr Lapshyn.)

Sportswear retailer Nike and home furnishings firm Ikea have shut down their stores in Russia, as the world responds to the rogue state’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. 

They head a growing list of retail brands which have already announced actions to end or reduce sales in Russia, including Swedish fast-fashion company H&M, online apparel store Asos, and tech giant Apple. 

Ikea said it would close outlets in Russia and its neighbouring ally Belarus, affecting 15,000 workers. 

“The war has both a huge human impact and is resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions, which is why the company groups have decided to temporarily pause Ikea operations in Russia,” the company said in a statement.

Inter Ikea Group and Ingka Group have donated €10 million each to provide support in products and other assistance to UNHCR, Save the Children and other organisations working to help affected civilians.

Nike said it was “deeply troubled by the devastating crisis in Ukraine”. “Given the rapidly evolving situation, and the increasing challenges of operating our business, Nike will be pausing operations in Russia.”

H&M Group said it was deeply concerned by the ”tragic developments” in Ukraine and said that it stood with all the people who are suffering.

“H&M Group has decided to temporarily pause all sales in Russia. The stores in Ukraine have already been temporarily closed due to the safety of customers and colleagues. The situation is continuously monitored and evaluated. Representatives of the company are in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders.”

H&M said its charitable arm, H&M Foundation, would donate clothing and other necessities to Save the Children and the UNHCR which have launched relief programs for more than 1 million refugees and thousands of Ukrainians whose homes have been destroyed by Russian bombs and missiles. 

Russia accounted for about 4 per cent of H&M’s sales during the last quarter, making it the group’s sixth-largest market. 

Spanish fast-fashion rival Mango said it would temporarily close its stores and website in Russia. 

The company said it was “not right” to continue trading in Russia in the wake of a rising death toll and the Russian military’s ongoing bombardment of civilian targets. 

Other companies, including Apple, have condemned Russia’s attack, but some of the announcements on Thursday were more practical, focused on supplies and sanctions as shipping routes closes and governments banned exports to Russia.

  • Additional reporting from Anna Ringstrom, Gwladys Fouche and Eric M. Johnson of Reuters.
  • Featured image: Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at the Kharkiv National University building, which city officials said was damaged by recent Russian shelling, in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

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