Swedish retail giant H&M has become the latest brand to pause all sales in Russia as it said it is “deeply concerned” over the situation in Ukraine.
The world’s second-largest clothing retailer has already temporarily closed all stores in Ukraine “due to the safety of customers and colleagues”.
It joins several other major companies, including ASOS, Burberry, Boohoo, Netflix, Apple, Mercedes-Benz Group, Ford and BMW, in suspending trading in Russia after troops invaded Ukraine last Thursday.
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A statement from the H&M Group said: “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.”
It added that it joins “all those around the world who are calling for peace” and said clothes and other necessities are being donated by the company, while the H&M Foundation has made donations to Save the Children and the UNHCR.
H&M Group also owns & Other Stories, Arket, COS, Weekday, Monki and Cheap Monday.
Recent figures show Russia is H&M’s sixth-biggest market, accounting for about 4% of group sales in the last quarter of 2021.
The latest developments in the Ukraine crisis:
• Russia acknowledges hundreds of military casualties
• UN says at least 800,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes
• Boris Johnson accuses Putin of ‘war crime’
• Opposition leader Navalny calls for daily protests
• Joe Biden closes US airspace to Russian aircraft
• Outrage as Russian athletes allowed to compete at Paralympics
ASOS and Apple halt Russia sales
Earlier on Wednesday, fast fashion giant ASOS said it would no longer be operating in Russia.
“Against the backdrop of the continuing war, ASOS has decided that it is neither practical nor right to continue to trade in Russia,” an ASOS spokeswoman said.
On Tuesday, Apple paused all product sales in Russia, halted Apple Pay there and removed state-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik from its App Store outside Russia.
Film studios Warner Brothers, Disney and Sony have also pulled major films from Russia, including The Batman blockbuster starring Robert Pattinson and Marvel Comics antihero film Morbius.
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Western measures and sanctions hitting Russian economy
The measures by the West, which include severe sanctions, have sent the rouble plunging and forced the central bank to raise interest rates.
Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, placed under sanctions by the UK this week, said on Wednesday it is leaving the European market because its subsidiaries faced large cash outflows and its employees and property is under threat.
Regulators are preparing for a possible closure of the European arm of Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB Bank, due to the impact of Western sanctions.