Japanese group Fast Retailing has denied media speculation that its brand Uniqlo would be exiting Russia over one year on from when it first suspended operations in the region.
In a statement to the press, Fast Retailing said: “In March 2022, Fast Retailing temporarily suspended operations in Russia, and that status remains unchanged. With no foreseeable prospects to resume operations, the company has closed some stores.
“The company will continue to monitor the situation closely and make decisions accordingly.”
The news had initially been reported by media outlet Izvestia which cited Russia’s deputy minister of industry and trade Viktor Yevtukhov, who told the publication that the company had decided to leave the country but had not yet submitted an application to the government, so the chain had no buyer yet.
Yevtukhov added: "I think they can offer potential buyers their business mode.
"The Japanese retailer will be able to offer... lease agreements, popular points of sale with the good buyers traffic and equipment."
Fast Retailing had faced heavy criticism last year after it first said it would not be halting Uniqlo’s operations in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
It later reversed its plan, opting to ultimately suspend its operations in the country as both a response to the scrutiny and the increasingly challenging environment it faced.