Luxury fashion brands leave Russia in response to war in Ukraine

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Luxury brands such as France’s Chanel and Louis Vuitton have announced they are suspending operations in Russia, adding to the country’s economic isolation since it invaded Ukraine.

Companies have cited staff safety concerns and uncertainty surrounding the war as reasons for cutting a market where well-to-do Russians are typically heavy consumers of high-end goods.

Fashion brand Chanel said it was closing boutiques in Russia and would no longer deliver online sales there due to what it said were “growing concerns” about the fallout from the war.

LVMH, owner of the Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior brands, told Reuters it would close its 124 stores in Russia but continue to pay the salaries of its 3,500 employees in the country.

Another French company, Kering, which owns brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, also said it was closing its stores in Russia. Spanish retailer Zara has closed 502 stores and halted online sales there.

In Britain, fashion house Burberry has halted shipments to Russia, but its two stores are still open. Swiss watch company Swatch has announced that it is closing its Russian outlets.

Several companies also said they were donating to humanitarian organisations, including the Red Cross and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Away from the high-end market, big companies that have pulled out of Russia include Swedish furniture company Ikea, British sportswear retailer JD Sports and American shoe company Nike.

Companies that have yet to make such an announcement, including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, are under pressure from some Western customers.

Western leaders are trying to politically and economically isolate Russia to pressure President Vladimir Putin to withdraw the armed forces from Ukraine.

Wealthy and well-connected Russians have been hit with sanctions in the United States and European countries, including Mr. Putin himself.

Updated: 05 March 2022, 14:48

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