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Broken promises: retail brands that failed to retreat from Russia

By the beginning of 2023, just 25% of the 85 brands that had previously announced their withdrawal from the Russian market had actually ceased their operations completely. This information was included in a research by the consulting firm CMWP. The brands in concern are the ones that are available at malls.

The current status of international brands in Russia:

  • operations halted — 34%;
  • complete exit — 25%;
  • complete exit and sale — 26%;
  • continue operating — 6%;
  • localization — 6%;
  • partially stopped — 2%.

Those that have entirely exited are IKEA, Jysk, Decathlon, H&M Group brands, and a part of Inditex Group brands.

Quote"Concerns about the mass retreat of global trade brands haven’t proven warranted. Nearly 40% of them found an opportunity to stay, largely through the transfer of ownership of individual retail brands to new owners," the CMWP report said.

About a third (32%) of the brands that are present in Russian malls have found new owners for their businesses, which were either sold to new owners (for example, all of the brands owned by LPP Group or some of those owned by Inditex and Moneks Trading) or had their management handed over locally (L'occitane, Deichmann). In cases of sale, the new owners were mostly Russian companies (67%), followed by those from the UAE (19%), Lebanon, and Turkey (7% each).

Another 6% resumed operation after a pause or kept working. For example, franchisee-owned businesses mostly continued to operate even when the licensors (brand owners) announced their withdrawal from the market (Burger King, Papa John's). Some were renamed (if the brands were represented in the Russian market through distributors or partners).

Nearly 2% claimed that they were halting investment or limiting operations in the local market. At the same time, a third of retail brands (34%) are still suspended. Among those who haven’t yet developed their strategies for operating in Russia are Uniqlo, Adidas, Estee Lauder, etc.

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