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Ikea and H&M close up shop in Russia

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Two major retailers, Ikea and H&M, are temporarily pausing operations in Russia and Belarus because of the invasion of Ukraine.

Ikea, the world’s largest furniture company, has 17 stores in Russia. The company said the conflict is having a “huge human impact” and “resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions.” As a result, it has decided to pause all manufacturing and retail operations in Russia, as well as all trade with the country and its ally, Belarus.

Dozens of Western companies have exited or halted operations in Russia in response to the invasion, the ensuring sanctions and disruption to supplies.

Ikea said 15,000 workers would be directly affected by the shutdown in the region. But the company will continue to pay them, at least for a while.

“The ambitions of the company groups are long term and we have secured employment and income stability for the immediate future and provide support to them and their families in the region,” the company said in a statement.

Ikea also announced “an immediate donation of €20 million ($22 million) for humanitarian assistance to those who have been forcibly displaced as a result of the conflict in Ukraine,” in response to an emergency appeal from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Parent company Ingka Group is one of the largest mall operators in Russia. It said its “Mega” malls would continue operating to provide food, clothing and goods to Russians.

H&M

Clothing company H&M Group, which has 168 stores in Russia, said late Wednesday that it also has decided to temporarily close up shop in Russia.

“H&M Group cares for all colleagues and joins all those around the world who are calling for peace,” the Swedish fashion retailer said in a statement. “Clothes and other necessities are donated by the company.”

Ikea and H&M join a growing number of international companies, including Apple, Disney and Ford, that are dialing back operations in Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

— CNN’s Chris Liakos contributed to this report.

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