French sportswear brand Decathlon has announced that it is suspending its Russian operations because of supply issues caused by international sanctions.
This comes after the firm was widely criticised for keeping its shops open despite the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“With scrupulous respect for the international sanctions [imposed on Russia], Decathlon has decided that the supply conditions are not conducive to the continuation of its activities in Russia,” the company said in a statement today (March 29).
“This has brought Decathlon to suspend its shop operations,” in the country, it added.
“We will continue to support our 2,500 Russian team members,” Decathlon said. Staff were told of the suspension by email this morning.
Decathlon is one of three brands owned by the Association Familiale Mulliez which have been criticised for keeping their Russian shops open despite the war in Ukraine. Supermarket chain Auchan and homeware / DIY retailer Leroy Merlin are still operating in the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for “Renault, Auchan, Leroy Merlin and others” to “stop being sponsors of Russia’s war machine,” before the French Parliament on March 24.
Decathlon first launched its Russian operation in 2006, with 60 shops in 25 towns. Some 22 of its stores are situated around Moscow.
The brand also has four stores in Ukraine, but suspended its activities there at the end of February “so as to not expose” its 125 employees “to a situation which did not totally guarantee their safety.”
Decathlon also stated that it has donated €2.6million to charities operating in and around Ukraine, and has also established a “solidarity fund” worth €1million in order to “support the populations affected” by the war.