Paul Smith to close stores in Russia, admits continuing operations was 'mistake'
British brand Paul Smith has finally announced its departure from the Russian market, nearly one year after the country invaded Ukraine.
The company is now reportedly set to close its two branded stores in St. Petersburg and Moscow’s Red Square.
The news comes after an investigation by the Daily Mail found Paul Smith was one of three British luxury brands still operating retail stores in the region.
Both the brand’s stores and e-commerce site are run through a franchise agreement with oligarch Mikhail Kusnirovich, the media outlet noted.
However, Smith, who founded his namesake company in 1970, has now admitted it was a “mistake” to keep the operations running.
In a statement to the Daily Mail, a spokesman for the brand said: “The company does not trade directly with Russi, but, for two decades, we have had a franchise partner who operates stores in Russia.
“We now realise it was a mistake to allow these stores to continue trading in our name against the background of the war in Ukraine.
“We have requested that these stores are closed and we have now ceased all supplies to the distributor.”
The news was met with outrage online, with many social media users criticising Smith for not making the move in the first place.
In February last year, on learning of Russia’s invasion, many brands took to cutting ties with suppliers and franchises in the region, or closing up shop altogether, in response.