Ikea has shut its stores and factories across Russia, affecting 15,000 workers, in response to President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Swedish furniture giant has closed its 17 outlets across Russia but said it would keep its Mega shopping centres open which contain essential retailers, such as food shops and pharmacies. It said serious disruptions to supply chains had already occured because of the invasion. Ikea Centres Russia is the largest shopping centre operator in the country.
Brand owner Inter Ikea and store owner Ingka Group said they had “secured employment and income stability” for the workers directly affected by the decisions, including its 416 co-workers in Ukraine, where its one store closed at the invasion’s onset on 24 February.
Ikea’s three manufacturing sites in Russia have also paused production, and the firm has paused all imports and exports in and out of the country and its ally Belarus.
The move gains significance in light of the fact Ikea has had a presence in Russia since 2000 and is thought to be one of its largest western employers.
It made retail sales of €1.6bn (£1.3 bn) in Russia in the last financial year, which accounts for 4% of total retail sales.
A spokesperson said: “The war has a huge human impact already. It is also resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions. For all of these reasons, the company groups have decided to temporarily pause Ikea operations in Russia.”
Other firms announcing suspensions of business activities with or in Russia in the past 48 hours include Diageo which has halted exports to the country and Volkswagen which has shut down production at two plants and ended exports.
M&S has has suspended shipments to its Turkish franchisee’s business in Russia, which has 48 stores and 1,200 employees. The British retailer said: “We are building on our existing support for Unicef’s UK’s Ukraine appeal with a £1.5m package to support the UN Refugee Agency and Unicef to help children and families in need.”
It said it was also sending £500,000 of coats and thermals to Ukraine, where it ceased operations at 10 stores a week ago.
Earlier in the week, UK-based online retailers Boohoo and Asos suspended sales in the country, as did the Swedish clothing giant H&M, which has closed its 150 stores in Russia.
An Asos spokesperson said it had “decided that it is neither practical nor right to continue to trade in Russia”. The country accounted for 4% of the group’s sales and contributed about £20m to profits last year.
Burberry said it had ceased shipments to the country, effectively shutting down its online operation there, and its three stores in Russia were not receiving new deliveries.
Spanish fashion retailer Mango has closed its 120 shops in Russia and halted online sales there.
Nike has said it is preventing Russian customers from buying online and Adidas has suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union.
Apple has paused sales in Russia and Meta, the owner of Facebook, said it had stopped recommending content from Russian state media to Facebook users, with Instagram set to follow. This was followed by reports that Russia was attempting to block Facebook and Twitter.
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