Japanese brand Uniqlo decided to leave Russia after suspending its operation there last year, paving the way for the sale of the business.
Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing suspended the clothing brand's operations in Russia in March 2022, joining scores of international companies, after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in what it dubbed a "special military operation".
A top Russian official said the company has decided to completely leave Russia but has not yet submitted an application to the government, which means the chain has no buyer yet.
Uniqlo may leave the market, following the example of McDonald’s, i.e., by selling shops with good buyer traffic and equipment to another player without allowing it to use the brand.
Tadashi Yanai, the founder of Fast Retailing, told Japanese media earlier that Uniqlo was operating 50 stores in Russia. By the beginning of 2023, there were only 27 stores left that were temporarily closed.
Uniqlo’s collaboration with Ukrainian artists
Meanwhile, the German Uniqlo subsidiary launched a collaboration with Ukrainian artists who live in Berlin and belong to the Ukrainian Cultural Community (UCC).
The collection is represented by basic T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, and tote bags featuring designs by four Ukrainian artists. These are Zina Isupova from Kyiv, who captures everyday objects; Viki Berg from Kharkiv, who specializes in tufted carpets; Ptashka Somari, a street artist seeking inspiration in post-graffiti and retrofuturism; and Anastasiia Pasichnyk, the founder of the UCC.
The joint collection became part of the Uniqlo UTme project. It allows the buyers to develop their own designs, adding text, images, photos, or stickers in-store.