Uniqlo owner stays in Russia as Netflix and AMEX sever ties

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March 7 (Reuters) – Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing (9983.T) will keep its stores in Russia open, joining a small group of international businesses that have stayed put even as dozens of major brands suspend operations or leave the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

“Clothes are a necessity of life. The Russian people have the same right to live as we do,” said Japanese clothing retailer CEO Tadashi Yanai, according to emailed remarks first published by Nikkei and reported by Bloomberg News.

Political pressure is mounting on companies to suspend operations in Russia, while sweeping sanctions affecting everything from global payment systems to a range of high-tech products complicate operations.

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Major shippers have suspended container routes to and from Russia and many Western companies including Nike Inc, Swedish furniture retailer Ikea and British energy giants BP and Shell (SHEL.L) have closed shops or announced their intention to leave Russia.

On Sunday, streaming giant Netflix, two of the Big Four accounting firms KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and credit card company American Express (AXP.N) severed ties with Russia.

The French yogurt maker Danone (DANO.PA), which makes about 6% of its sales in Russia and Ukraine, announced on Sunday that it was suspending its investments in Russia and that one of its two factories had closed in Ukraine.

McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) and PepsiCo Inc (PEP.O) are among the companies that continue to operate in Russia, prompting the New York state pension fund – a shareholder in the pair – to urge them to consider suspending their operations there. Read more

Russia said on Monday it would hold back fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian towns, after fighting halted evacuation efforts over the weekend and civilian casualties increased. Read more

Russia describes the campaign it launched on February 24 as a “special military operation”. He denied attacking civilian areas and said he has no intention of occupying Ukraine.

Fast Retailing’s Yanai said he was against the war and urged all countries to oppose it. The company has joined in donation efforts at the United Nations.

The sun sets behind the skyscrapers of the Moscow International Business Center, also known as ‘Moskva-City’, in Moscow, Russia April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

A Fast Retailing spokesman told Reuters last week that the company had no plans to suspend operations in Russia, where Uniqlo has 49 stores.

The company did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, said on Sunday it would suspend live streaming and uploading of videos to its platform in Russia as it considers the implications of a new media law signed on Friday by President Vladimir Putin.

“We have no choice but to suspend live streaming and new content from our video service while we consider the implications of this security law,” the social media company said in a series of postings. posts on Twitter. He said in-app messaging would not be affected by the decision.

“UNJUSTIFIED ATTACK”

Many companies have strongly condemned Russia’s actions in suspending services in the country.

“In light of Russia’s continued and unwarranted attack on the people of Ukraine, American Express is suspending all operations in Russia,” it said on its website. Read more

“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” a Netflix spokesperson said.

Earlier, Netflix temporarily halted all future projects and acquisitions in Russia and said it had no plans to add state-run channels to its Russian service, despite regulations that would require it. to do it.

KPMG said its Russian and Belarusian company will leave the KPMG network, a move that will affect more than 4,500 partners and employees.

PwC, which has operated in Russia for more than 30 years, also said PwC Russia would leave its network, affecting 3,700 partners and employees.

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Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru, Chris Gallagher in Washington, DC, Rocky Swift in Tokyo; Written by Anna Driver and Sayantani Ghosh; edited by Diane Craft, Kirsten Donovan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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