Russians flock to H&M as fashion retailer opens stores to sell stock

  • This content was produced in Russia where the law limits coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, Aug 2 (Reuters) – A long queue of Russians snaked through a Moscow shopping center on Tuesday, waiting to enter H&M (HMb.ST) as the fashion retailer opened its doors one last time for sell its stocks before making a complete exit from the Russian market.

Dozens of mainstream brands have 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 the companies that announced exit plans permed.

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

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“Unfortunately the reason why all this is happening is horrible,” said another customer, Ekaterina. “Everything else doesn’t make sense, like how we’re going to manage (without H&M).”

Furniture giant IKEA has reopened for an online-only sale, but H&M has opted to allow customers to return in person. The exit from Russia, H&M’s sixth-largest market, is expected to cost the company nearly $200 million and affect 6,000 employees. Read more [nL8N2YZ15F]

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

A company spokesperson said in July that H&M would temporarily reopen physical stores in August to sell remaining stock 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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Reuters reporting; edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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