Russians lined up in Moscow malls on Tuesday, waiting to enter H&M stores, as the Swedish retailer opened its doors for the last time to liquidate stocks before exiting the Russian market, Reuters reported.
Several Western brands have halted their operations in Russia after Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24, and H&M, IKEA and Nike are among the companies that have announced they will withdraw from the Russian market altogether.
“We’re standing in line because it’s closing. I’m going to buy whatever I can find,” says Irina, one of the customers waiting to enter the store.
“Unfortunately, the reason this is happening is terrible. Everything else is not important, including how we would manage without H&M,” says Ekaterina, another customer.
Furniture retailer IKEA only allows online sales in Russia, but H&M has opted to bring customers back to stores. Leaving Russia, H&M’s sixth most important market, would cost the Swedish company approximately 200 million dollars and affect 6,000 employees.
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Last month, a spokesman announced that it would temporarily reopen its stores in August to sell remaining stock in Russia. H&M, the world’s second largest fashion retailer, has 170 stores in Russia that it operates directly.
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