Sports company Nike announced last Thursday that it is permanently leaving the Russian market and has no plans to reopen its stores, initially temporarily closed as a result of sanctions imposed on Moscow for its offensive in Ukraine.
«Nike Inc. has decided to exit the Russian market. As a result, Nike.com and the Nike mobile app will no longer be available in this region. Nike stores have recently closed temporarily and will not reopen,» the group said in a statement on its Russian website.
After McDonald’s and Ikea, this is the umpteenth iconic Western brand to leave the Russian market, after setting up shop there with the fall of the Soviet Union. The group did not elaborate on the reasons for the decision, saying only that «Nike cannot guarantee delivery of goods to Russian buyers.» In this regard, the company maintains that the orders have been canceled and will be refunded.
In early March, a few days after the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine, Nike announced the temporary closure of all its directly operated branches in Russia, i.e. 116 stores.
On May 25, the group announced the suspension of its sales in partner stores in Russia and the discontinuation of all its collaborations with retailers in the country, while indicating that it would continue to pay its employees.
Russian authorities responded aggressively to these announcements, warning foreign groups to leave the country in haste and without respecting labor legislation, with thinly disguised threats to nationalize their assets.
In this new framework, McDonald’s restaurants have been bought by a Russian investor. In June, the investor launched the relaunch of the fast food chain, with new colors and a new name.
In Moscow, bus stops in May were adorned with posters accusing Swedish citizens of Nazi sympathies. They read, «We (Russians) are against Nazism, they (Swedes) are for it.» The posters singled out, among others, the founder of the Ikea furniture chain, Ingvar Kamprad, for comments portrayed as pro-Nazi.
On social networks and in the media, there have also been calls to boycott the products of major Western brands that have suspended their activities in the country, such as Apple or Chanel.