This Iconic Furniture Store Is Closing 17 Locations Immediately
The world's largest furniture company announced the shutterings due to recent events.
Whether you're redoing your kitchen or just want to invest in a comfier couch, buying new furniture is one part of shopping that's arguably still best done in person. And even if COVID-19 lockdowns didn't drive you to take on a home makeover project, there's a good chance you've had to step out to pick up a replacement piece here and there. But now, an iconic furniture company has announced it will be closing 17 of its locations, effective immediately. Read on to see which stores are shuttering.
Ikea is closing 17 of its locations in Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.
On March 3, Ikea announced that it would be temporarily closing its 17 stores in Russia on account of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Reuters reports. The world's largest furniture company also said that it would immediately stop sourcing and manufacturing items from both Russia and its ally Belarus.
"The devastating war in Ukraine is a human tragedy, and our deepest empathy and concerns are with the millions of people impacted," brand owner Inter Ikea and parent company Ingka Group said in a joint statement. "The war has both a huge human impact and is resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions, which is why the company groups have decided to temporarily pause Ikea operations in Russia."
The company is one of the first to sever ties with Belarus over its involvement in the invasion.
According to Reuters, Russia is Ikea's tenth-biggest market globally, accounting for $1.8 billion in annual sales. And while the company produces some materials and works with 50 direct suppliers across the country, most of the products made in Russia are sold domestically. In total, Russian-made products exported to other countries make up less than 0.5 percent of Ikea's product offerings.
While there are no stores in Belarus, Ikea uses the country as a sourcing market for wood-based products and mattresses sold in Russia. But due to military operations there, the furniture company was one of the first to cease operations in the country.
"We couldn't offer safety and security of people working in our supply chain—passing the border et cetera was simply too risky. Then, on top of that, the consequences of different sanctions altogether made it simply not possible to operate any longer," Henrik Elm, Inter Ikea Core Business Supply Manager, told Reuters.
The company will still pay employees while stores remain closed.
In its announcement, Ikea said its decision to halt operations in Russia and Belarus would immediately affect 15,000 workers. But the company vowed to continue paying employees for at least the time being.
"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 said.
Besides keeping its employees paid, Ikea also announced that it would be making "an immediate donation of €20 million [$22 million] for humanitarian assistance to those who have been forcibly displaced as a result of the conflict in Ukraine," CNN reports.
A growing number of other companies have also ceased operations in Russia.
While it may be one of the first to stop operations in Belarus, Ikea is far from the first company to distance itself from Russia. On March 3, clothing company H&M also announced it would be temporarily closing its 168 stores in the country. And on March 1, Apple confirmed that it had banned apps for Russian-state-controlled media outlets Russia Today (RT News) and Sputnik from its app store in every country except Russia and had halted the sale of its products and devices within the country, Tech Crunch reports.
On Feb. 27, FedEx and UPS both released statements that they would be suspending all deliveries into the country, Reuters reports. In addition, auto manufacturers General Motors and Volvo also announced that they would be stopping the export of all vehicles into Russia amid the ongoing military activity. And on Feb. 28, oil titan Shell said that it would be ceasing all operations in Russia.