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 shopping mall on Tuesday, waiting to enter H&M ( HMb.ST ) as the fashion retailer opened its doors for the last time to sold inventory before making a complete exit from the Russian 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 ( NKE.N ) among 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.”

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“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. Read more [nL8N2YZ15F]

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.

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Reporting by Reuters; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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