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Ukraine War: Uniqlo Reverses Course to Suspend Operations in Russia

The company said the decision was the result of operational challenges and the worsening conflict in Ukraine. It had faced public pressure to pull back.
Uniqlo | Source: Reuters
Uniqlo has reversed course to suspend operations in Russia. (Reuters )

The decision comes as the company faced public pressure to halt operations in the country, as a wave of retailers, including fast fashion rivals H&M and Zara, shut up shop.

Until today, the Japanese clothing giant had been a lonely voice maintaining its intention to continue operating its 50 stores in the Russian market.

”Clothing is a necessity of life. The people of Russia have the same right to live as we do,” Tadashi Yanai, the founder and chief executive of Uniqlo-parent Fast Retailing was quoted as saying by Japan’s Nikkei newspaper earlier this week.

The comments prompted a negative response from many users on social media and Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan, Sergiy Korsunsky, criticised the retailer on Twitter.

Companies continuing to operate in Russia are also facing mounting logistical and operational challenges as a results of sanctions and broader corporate exits.

”[I]t has become clear to us that we can no longer proceed due to a number of difficulties,” Fast Retailing said in a statement Thursday, pointing to both operational challenges and the worsening conflict in Ukraine.

The company also said it has donated $10 million to UNHCR.

Casey Hall

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