Russian shoppers rushed to local Ikea stores this week after the furniture retailer announced it would temporarily pause operations in the country and neighboring Belarus following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Photos showed long lines forming at the chain’s Russia locations as shoppers filled carts with items in what could be their final chance to shop at the retailer for some time. It’s unclear how long the stores will remain closed.
The Swedish retailer said the closures would impact all of its 17 retail locations in Russia, but its attached shopping centers would remain open “to ensure that the many people in Russia have access to their daily needs and essentials such as food, groceries and pharmacies.”
“The war has had a huge human impact already. It is also resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions. For all of these reasons, the company groups have decided to temporarily pause IKEA operations in Russia,” Ikea said in a blog post explaining its decision.
The company is also pausing all exports and imports in the countries, as well as shuttering manufacturing sites. Ikea acknowledged the changes would have a “direct impact” on about 15,000 employees.
“The ambitions of the company groups are long term and we have secured employment and income stability for the immediate future and provide support to them and their families in the region,” the company added.
Ikea is one of countless international companies to limit operations in Russia – or pause them entirely – following the invasion. Some have cited operational difficulties in their decisions, while others have outright condemned the Kremlin for the unprovoked assault.
Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with The Post’s live coverage.
In the US, tech giant Apple announced it would pause all product sales in Russia following the invasion. And Alphabet-owned Google said it would pause ad sales in the country.
The loss of major businesses could increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the broader Russian economy – which also faces crippling economic sanctions from the US and other nations.