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Fast Retailing CEO “defends position” to continue Russia trading

Fast Retailing, the owner of brands including Uniqlo and Gu, will continue to operate in Russia despite the majority of brands suspending sales in the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

By Hannah Abdulla

An article published by Bloomberg cites Fast Retailing CEO Tadashi Yanai as saying clothing is a necessity of life and “the people of Russia have the same right to live as we do,” according to emailed remarks that were first published by news publication Nikkei.

“While he’s against the war, and urged every country to oppose it, all 50 Uniqlo stores will continue to operate in Russia,” Bloomberg said in its report.

Fast Retailing did not return a request for comment when approached by Just Style today (7 March).

The comments made by the Japanese retail giant are a stark contrast to its global peers, with the likes of Nike, Inc and Puma AG, moving to suspend operations of all of their stores in Russia.

Inditex, the owner of Zara, has also paused its operations in Russia noting under the current circumstances, it cannot guarantee the continuity of operations and trading conditions in the Russian Federation.”

The comments made by Fast Retailing’s CEO follow an announcement made by the company on Friday (4 March) that the group is donating US$10m to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to provide urgent assistance such as shelter, psychosocial support, and core relief items to affected populations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

The company has also donated 100,000 pieces of Uniqlo clothing and other items, including HeatTech blankets, HeatTech innerwear, and AIRism masks, as well as 100,000 items of winter clothing collected at Uniqlo stores in Japan through the company’s clothing recycling programme. 

Just Style is updating a timeline of events as the situation continues to unfold.

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