Russians buy last goods from H&M, IKEA as stores wind down
MOSCOW (AP) — Russians are snapping up Western fashion and furniture this week as H&M and IKEA sell off the last of their inventory in Russia, moving forward with their exit from the country after it sent troops into Ukraine.
Sweden-based H&M and Netherlands-based IKEA had paused sales in Russia after the military operation began and are now looking to unload their stocks of clothing and furnishings as they wind down operations there, saying the future is unpredictable. IKEA’s sales are online only, while the H&M store at the Moscow shopping mall Aviapark saw a steady stream of young shoppers Tuesday.
The racks and shelves were well stocked in the clothing retailer. Nearby shops were closed, including Zara, Oysho, Bershka, Pull&Bear and Uniqlo, while New Yorker, Finn Flare, Marks & Spencer and Mango were open.
“I will start looking at Russian brands,” one H&M shopper, who gave only her first name Anya, said after emerging from the store. Another shopper, who only gave his name as Leonid, said he was “very hurt” that H&M is closing down: “A good store is leaving.”
Both companies are laying off staffers as they scale down business in Russia. H&M said Tuesday that 6,000 workers will be affected and that it was working on details of offering continued support in the coming months.
IKEA said in June that many workers will lose their jobs and it has guaranteed six months of pay for them, as well as core benefits. It said this week that it has 15,000 workers in Russia and Belarus, but it did not immediately confirm how many would be laid off.
“We are deeply saddened about the impact this will have on our colleagues and very grateful for all their hard work and dedication," H&M Group CEO Helena Helmersson said last month.