French design giants halt sales in Russia.

File photo dated June 2011 of the Louis Vuitton flagship store on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France. Vendome sold part of the brand rights of its name to Louis Vuitton. In 2018, shortly after the announcement of the flagship brand of the LVMH group of its intention to set up a leather goods workshop in this small town of Loir-et-Cher, located less than 200 kilometers south of Paris, France, the municipality sold the Vendome brand for 10,000 Euros for its leather products. It did it again at the start of the year, ceding her brand for the same amount, this time for jewelry products. Photo by Alain Apaydin/Abaca/Sipa USA(Sipa via AP Images)

French lux­u­ry giants have decid­ed to join oth­er com­pa­nies in announc­ing that they will sus­pend their sales in Rus­sia amid the ongo­ing war in Ukraine.

LVMH, Her­mès, Ker­ing and Chanel have decid­ed to tem­porar­i­ly close their stores in Rus­sia, the com­pa­nies announced Friday.

It fol­lows calls from high-end Ukrain­ian stores to “stand up” after the inva­sion of the country.

Until now, lux­u­ry retail­ers have large­ly been exclud­ed from sanc­tions intro­duced by West­ern governments.

But many have found it more dif­fi­cult to do busi­ness and fill orders in the region after mea­sures intro­duced by the Unit­ed King­dom, the Euro­pean Union and the Unit­ed States.

Expen­sive Birkin bag mak­er Her­mès and Swiss Carti­er own­er Richemont were among the first com­pa­nies to announce they would take a break from Russia.

LVMH, which owns brands such as Chris­t­ian Dior, Givenchy and Bul­gari among oth­ers, will close its 124 stores in the coun­try start­ing Sunday.

Chanel, famous for its curly jack­ets, said in a post on LinkedIn, “Giv­en our grow­ing con­cerns about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, the increas­ing uncer­tain­ty and the com­plex­i­ty to oper­ate, Chanel has decid­ed to tem­porar­i­ly sus­pend its oper­a­tions in Russia.”

Ker­ing, home to Guc­ci and Saint Lau­rent, has two stores in Rus­sia, as well as 180 employ­ees in the country.

The French com­pa­ny said its deci­sion was due to “grow­ing con­cerns about the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Europe.”

This comes after an exec­u­tive of a Ukrain­ian lux­u­ry depart­ment store told the BBC that high-end com­pa­nies should “choose human­i­ty over mon­e­tary gain.”

Marusya Koval, mar­ket­ing direc­tor of Tsum Kyiv, not­ed that some com­pa­nies have promised assis­tance, but have not said whether they would stop sell­ing their prod­ucts in Russia.

Marusya Koval said that fash­ion brands should do more for Ukraine
She said that brands post­ing on social net­works in sup­port of Ukraine “will not help us stop the war.”

Fash­ion house Pra­da, for exam­ple, did not respond to BBC News’ requests for com­ment on whether it would stop sell­ing its prod­ucts in Russia.

In an Insta­gram post ear­li­er this week, it said the war in Ukraine was “a big concern.”

Count­less oth­er com­pa­nies have already announced plans to pull out of Rus­sia after its inva­sion of Ukraine.

Gior­gio Armani did not say whether it planned to stop sales in Rus­sia, but Armani said it told its team not to play any music at its recent fash­ion show in Paris to “com­mu­ni­cate that we are not cel­e­brat­ing here.”

The Tsum Kyiv depart­ment store, like oth­er retail­ers in the Ukrain­ian mar­ket, is clos­ing its doors as Russ­ian troops advance on the capital.

Koval said she wants to see the fash­ion and lux­u­ry indus­try “react imme­di­ate­ly by impos­ing sanc­tions on Russ­ian brands, stores and retailers.”

While afflu­ent Rus­sians are big con­sumers of lux­u­ry goods, ana­lysts say the pro­por­tion of lux­u­ry sales gen­er­at­ed in Rus­sia is small com­pared to the indus­try’s key mar­kets — Chi­na and the Unit­ed States.

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