PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is the latest luxury brand to “temporarily” close its stores in Russia.
An LVMH spokesperson told WWD its boutiques could close effective on Sunday, “given the current circumstances in the region.”
The spokesperson noted that the French group stands “alongside its 3,500 employees in Russia, and their families,” adding that these employees would “continue to receive their salary and benefits during this period” and receive assistance from the LVMH Heart Fund, its financial and psychological support program.
It is believed the conglomerate, which has more than 70 brands in fashion, beauty, retail and spirits, operates about 120 stores in Russia.
The development came on the same day that Hermès said it would be shuttering its stores and halting operations in Russia, effective Friday evening, in response to the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
“Deeply concerned by the situation in Europe at this time, it’s with regret that we have taken the decision to temporarily close our stores in Russia and pause all our commercial activities,” the company said in a post on LinkedIn. “We will continue to stand by our local teams.”
Hermès has three Russian boutiques, all in Moscow, although certain of its product categories, like fragrances, have significantly broader distribution.
While several apparel and consumer-goods companies have said over the past few days that they would be temporarily shutting up shop in Russia in support of Ukraine, luxury goods brands are now taking similar steps.
Kering, parent of Gucci, Saint Laurent and other brands, said in an Instagram post it would temporarily close stores in Russia it operates directly. “Kering and its houses will continue to support the local teams and to closely monitor the evolving situation.”
Chanel relayed a similar message on its LinkedIn page, saying it would no longer deliver to Russia. “We will close our boutiques and we already suspended our e-commerce,” the company wrote. “The safety of our employees is our priority and we remain closely connected to our local teams who we will continue to support.”
Zara parent Inditex said in a statement to the Spanish Stock Exchange that the group is temporarily pausing operations in the Russian Federation, shutting 502 stores, of which 86 are Zara. Online operations have also been shut down.
Inditex said that Russia accounts for around 8.5 percent of total group EBIT, or earnings before interest and taxes. The Spanish fast fashion giant added that total investment in the Russian Federation, given that all its locations in the region are leased, is “not financially significant” to the group.
The company said it continues to “prioritize its workforce of more than 9,000 people, with whom it is going to develop a special support plan.”
Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group, meanwhile, said it had halted shipments to Russia, although its stores remain open.
“Swatch Group is monitoring and analyzing the situation very closely,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Our 100 percent affiliate Swatch Group Russia (and all our Russian employees) continues its operations, as well as its activities. Also, our stores in the country remain open. At the moment, we have put exports to Russia on hold because of the overall difficult situation.”
Swatch Group, the maker of Longines, Blancpain, Harry Winston, Tissot and Omega timepieces, does not break out its sales for Russia, but according to its Russian website, it counts more than 300 stockists across the country and has its own stores in cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi.
Over the past few days, press reports have suggested that wealthy Russians have been flocking toward luxury goods purchases as a way to protect the value of their savings as sanctions on the country blocked access to international banking, the ruble tanked and the Bank of Russia raised the inflation rate to 20 percent.
H&M, Nike and Puma all altered operations in Russia in recent days in response to the invasion of Ukraine. H&M Group said it had shuttered its around 170 stores in the country, which is its sixth-largest market. Nike said it was no longer shipping internet orders to Russia, while Puma has suspended deliveries to Russia, although its stores were still open on Wednesday.
On Saturday, the Prada Group suspended its retail operations in Russia, saying that the group “will continue to monitor further developments.” Moncler also closed its store in Moscow and suspended all its commercial activities in Russia, while operations of its e-commerce was suspended a week ago.