French luxury giants LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Hermès each said on Friday they would temporarily close their stores in Russia as the crisis in Ukraine continued to worsen.
LVMH, which reportedly has more than 120 stores in Russia, said it would close them as of Sunday “given the current circumstances in the region”, according to a spokesperson. The spokesperson added that the company would continue to pay salaries and benefits to its 3,500 employees in the country. Hermès said in a post on LinkedIn that it will temporarily close its stores and pause business activity in Russia from Friday evening.
“Deeply concerned about the situation in Europe at this time, it is with regret that we have taken the decision to temporarily close our stores in Russia and suspend all business activities,” Hermès said in the post.
Western retailers like Ikea, H&M Group and Nike have made announcements about halting sales and temporarily closing stores in Russia in recent days and expressed their support for the Ukrainian people. Most said they would continue to pay their Russian employees. In addition to the escalating violence in Ukraine, retailers are reacting to the wider trade disruption in Russia and sanctions targeting financial transactions in the country.
Ikea, which is based in Stockholm, said this week it would suspend exports and imports to and from Russia and Belarus, halt retail operations and suspend operations of its unit which produces wooden furniture . The company told The New York Times in an email on Friday, “Due to current international sanctions and their intentions, we are not conducting any transactions, including payments to and from Russia or Belarus.” .
“The sanctions regime affecting Russia is rapidly evolving as countries coordinate and deploy an array of targeted financial and trade sanctions,” Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said in a statement. “Among those affecting retail and their workers are restrictions on financial institutions and financial flows, such as the payment of wages.”