British retailer Marks and Spencer exits Russia

LONDON: British clothing-to-food retailer Marks and Spencer on Wednesday (May 25) announced a full exit from Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

After halting product shipments to Russia at the start of March, Marks and Spencer said it had decided “to fully exit” its Russian franchise run by Turkish conglomerate Fiba Group.

The exit, plus disruption to M&S operations in Ukraine run also by franchisee Fiba, is costing the British company £31 million (US$39 million, 36 million euros).

“Unfortunately, our Ukrainian business has also been partially closed as a result of war impacts, and we are working with our partner to reopen as and when possible,” the company added in a statement.

An M&S spokeswoman confirmed to AFP that the group’s “brand will no longer be used in Russia”.

Its exit from Russia comes also after Marks and Spencer last year shut more than half its stores in France as Brexit affected supplies of fresh and chilled products.

M&S on Wednesday said it had taken a charge of £10.3 million following the French shakeup.

It had blamed the move on “supply chain complexities” following Britain’s formal exit from the European Union at the start of 2021.

M&S on Wednesday added that the group swung back into profit during its last financial year, or 12 months to the start of April.

It was heavily boosted by strong sales online in Britain and abroad.

Ahead, M&S pointed to “difficult and unpredictable headwinds” owing to ongoing fallout from the pandemic in addition to geopolitical and economic uncertainties.

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The company said a cost-of-living crisis caused by soaring inflation would hit sales growth.

The update also marked the end of Steve Rowe’s time as chief executive.

The group had already announced that he would step down after six years, making way for a new joint CEO team of current M&S executives Stuart Machin and Katie Bickerstaffe.


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