Leading French fashion houses have joined other companies in announcing that they will stop selling in Russia in the midst of the war in Ukraine.
On Friday, Chanel, LVMH, Hermes and Kering said they had decided to temporarily close their stores in Russia.
Other companies around the world are following the calls of Ukrainian high-end clothing stores to “resist” the country’s invasion.
So far, the sellers of luxury goods have largely been exempted from the restrictions imposed by Western governments.
But after the actions of the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States against Russia, it was very difficult for many to do business and meet the demands of shops and people in the region.
Herms, the maker of expensive birch bags, and Richmond, the owner of the Swiss company Cartier, were one of the first to announce the cessation of trade in Russia.
LVMH, which owns brands such as Christian Dior, Givenchy and Bulgaria, will close its 124 stores in the country from Sunday.
“Due to the current situation, the growing uncertainty around it and our growing concerns about the complexity of the workflow, the channel has decided to suspend its business in Russia,” the channel said in a post on LinkedIn.
Kering, which includes both Gucci and Saint Laurent, has two stores in Russia with 180 employees.
The French company said the decision was due to “growing concerns about the current situation in Europe”.
The manager of a luxury supermarket in Ukraine told the BBC that high-end companies should “choose humanity over money.”
Marusya Koval, marketing director of the “Tsum Kyiv” store, which covers many departments and stores, pointed out that some companies have pledged financial assistance, but have not commented on whether they will stop selling their products in Russia.
Brands that publish social media posts in support of Ukraine “will not help us stop the war,” Koval said.
Fashion house Prada, for example, did not respond to requests for comment from the BBC on whether it would stop selling its products in Russia.
In an Instagram post earlier this week, Prada said the war in Ukraine was “very worrying.”
Many companies are planning to leave Russia after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Giorgio Armani did not say whether he planned to stop selling in Russia, but Armani said he told his band not to play any music at a recent fashion show in Paris to “express that we are not celebrating here”.
As Russian forces advanced into the capital, the Tsum Kyiv supermarket, like other Ukrainian market vendors, closed.
Koval said the fashion and luxury industry “should act immediately by imposing sanctions on Russian brands, stores and retailers.”
Although rich Russians are serious consumers of luxury goods, analysts say the rate of luxury sales in Russia is small compared to the major industrial markets in China and the United States.
In Russia, luxury fashion accounts for about 2% of most companies’ global revenue, said Luka Solka, a researcher at research firm Bernstadt.
He said companies should “consider their preferences”, but said it would be possible for brands to try to get more out of Russian spending before sanctions hit the sector.
“The ruble has a significant devaluation, so one of the ways they are trying to reduce it is to buy expensive jewelry products,” he noted.
And, he thought, “This is not usually a bad assumption, it could happen.”
Edel Solingen, a professor at the University of California School of Social Sciences, told the BBC that sanctions on luxury goods could target those closely associated with Russia’s top powers.
“Who can buy luxury goods in Russia? … It may be a small part of the sanctions imposed on Russia for doing so in Ukraine, but it is intended to express their dissatisfaction with the audience,” she added.
Solingen described brands that posted pro-Ukrainian comments on social media as “hypocrisy” when delivering luxury goods to Russia.
Dumai Zardari, a professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, says luxury brands primarily “sell their work” and are “essential” products by many.
She added, “In tense moments like the one we live in now, it’s best not to make the situation worse by making a statement that hurts anyone and leads to an even worse reaction.”
“However, there is no doubt that Russia’s isolation will harm the top quality brands that exist in the country or continue to sell their products online,” he added.
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