Russians are flocking to H&M as the fashion retailer opens stores to sell inventory

* This content was produced in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, Aug 2 (Reuters) – A long line of Russians filed through a Moscow mall on Tuesday, waiting to enter H&M as the fashion retailer opened its doors one last time to sell off inventory before making a complete withdrawal from Russia. the market.

A number of consumer brands suspended operations in Russia after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24, with H&M, IKEA and Nike among the companies that have announced plans for a permanent exit.

“Well, it’s closing, that’s why we’re staying here,” one customer, Irina, told Reuters. “I’ll buy whatever there is.”

“Unfortunately, the reason why this is happening is terrible,” said another customer, Ekaterina. “Everything else is meaningless, like how we will manage (without H&M).”

Furniture giant IKEA has reopened for an online-only sale, but H&M decided to allow customers to return in person. The exit from Russia, H&M’s sixth largest market, is expected to cost the company almost $200 million and affect 6,000 staff.

H&M did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

A company spokesman said in July that H&M would temporarily reopen physical stores in August to sell remaining inventory in Russia. H&M, the world’s second-largest fashion retailer, leases its 170 physical stores in the country and operates them directly.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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