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.