Leading ecommerce and multichannel retailers and brands are putting sales to Russia on hold as the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine widen. Online delivery and store sales in Ukraine have already been interrupted by the war and now retailers including H&M and Asos have spoken out as they suspend sales to Russia.
Apple and Nike are among the other leading brands that are also reported to have stopped selling in Russia, while Google has limited the use of Google Pay by sanctioned banks. UK luxury retailer Burberry, meanwhile, has issued a statement to say it will support Ukraine relief efforts.
UK online retailer Asos said in a statement that sales to Russia are now suspended. It says: “Asos is providing an update on the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on its business. Asos’ priority is the safety of its colleagues and partners in the region. Immediately following the invasion, Asos suspended sales in Ukraine as it became impossible to serve customers there.
“Against the backdrop of the continuing war, Asos decided to suspend sales to Russia earlier today. In FY21 Russia and Ukraine represented c.4% of Group revenue and contributed approximately £20m to group profit.”
Swedish retail group H&M has said in a statement: “H&M Group is deeply concerned about the tragic developments in Ukraine and stand 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 Group cares for all colleagues and joins all those around the world who are calling for peace. Clothes and other necessities are donated by the company. H&M Foundation has also made donations to Save the Children and to UNHCR.”
On its Russian website (pictured) it says: “H&M Group has decided to suspend all sales in Russia. This means that all H&M stores, physical and online, will remain closed until further notice. We are constantly monitoring and evaluating the situation and are grateful to our dedicated colleagues and customers.”
And luxury retailer Burberry says: “Millions of lives are being impacted by the events unfolding in Ukraine. To support the relief efforts, we are donating to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal, which is working to provide urgent aid, food, warm clothes and shelter to communities in desperate need.
“We will also be matching any employee donations to charities supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine with an equivalent donation to the appeal. These are incredibly difficult times for many people and our thoughts are with all those impacted by the crisis.”
Ikea has also joined the move, suspending trading, manufacturing and importing and exporting in both Russia and Belarus as of Friday March 4. In a statement it says: “The war has had 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.”
A statement on its Russian website says: “In the current situation, IKEA is forced to suspend sales in stores, online store and Ikea Studios in Russia from March 4, 2022. You will find information about the service of already made purchases and services provided on the IKEA.ru website in the near future.
“All obligations to buyers for orders placed and paid before March 3, inclusive, will be fulfilled.
You can return goods, as well as receive completed orders for self-delivery from stores, in stores after March 4.”
While its Ikea shops close, the company says the Ingka Group-operated Mega shopping centre will remain open to support supplies of essential goods to the Russian people, while it will also continue to pay its 15,000 local staff who are affected by the decision. “The ambitions of the company groups are long term and we have secured employment and income stability for the immediate future and provide support to them and their families in the region,” it says.
Call to boycott Russia
Earlier this week, Vogue Ukraine appealed, in an Instagram post, for luxury brands to stop selling in Russia. In the post it said: “Showing your conscience and choosing humanity over monetary benefits is the only reasonable stand one can take in confronting the violent behavior of Russia.
“Moreover, Vogue UA appeals to the global fashion industry to not keep silence during these dark times as it has the strongest voice.”
UPDATED March 4 with news of Ikea suspending its Russian and Belarussian operations.