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Independent Nike Stores Stay Open in Russia

Some independent Nike stores have continued operating in Russia following the company’s decision to temporarily close all owned and operated locations in the country.

At least six shops remained open as of Friday afternoon, a little more than a week after Nike announced it would close its Russian stores following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported last week. Of the 112 Russian locations listed in Nike’s online directory, 19 are described as temporarily closed. A Nike spokesperson told Reuters Friday that it is still updating its store locator to reflect current closures.

Days before officially closing its stores, Nike was one of the first brands to shut down its Russian e-commerce site and app. A note posted on the website’s homepage told shoppers that the company could no longer guarantee delivery of goods to its customers in the country. Initially, the note advised Russian citizens to visit their nearest Nike store. This wording was removed days later when the company closed its owned and operated brick-and-mortar locations.

In the weeks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several footwear brands have ceased shipments to the country and closed stores, including Skechers, Crocs, Adidas and Puma. UPS and FedEx have suspended services in both Russia and Ukraine. Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA CGM have suspended new Russia bookings, with some exceptions for food and humanitarian aid. Given these difficulties, it is unclear how long independent brand stores in Russia will outlast their brand-owned sister locations.

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Animal rights groups protest Nike’s kangaroo leather

Protestors gathered in cities across the United States and Australia Saturday to bring attention to Nike’s use of kangaroo leather in its soccer cleats. According to the organizers’ Facebook event page, the “Global Day of Action” included five events in Australia and four in the U.S., including one outside a Portland, Ore., store.

The Center for a Humane Economy, one of the 18 organizers behind Saturday’s event, has lobbied against the use of kangaroo leather in footwear since the launch of its “Kangaroos Are Not Shoes” campaign in 2020. The animal welfare organization has drawn particular attention to major sneaker brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma.

In December, it helped coordinate a similar multi-city protest that saw activists post up outside Nike stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Speaking at one of these events, the Animal Justice Party’s lead Senate candidate Darren Brollo described the commercial kangaroo industry as “legalized animal abuse.”

The Center for a Humane Economy has created a related online petition to “tell Nike CEO John Donahoe to stop profiting from the largest slaughter of land-based wildlife.” The petition has received more than 75,000 signatures so far.

Last year, U.S. Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) introduced a bill aimed at curtailing the market for kangaroo parts, especially when brands could easily substitute viable material alternatives without sacrificing performance.

At the time, Nike said that though it had “worked proactively to phase out exotic skins from our products including snake, lizard and crocodile,” kangaroo leather composed a “small portion” of its football boots, largely do its “unique properties.”

“We work with our leather suppliers to source animal skins from processors that use sound animal husbandry and humane treatment, whether farmed, domesticated, or wild managed,” it said in a statement.

Puma, which has also been targeted for its use of kangaroo leather, introduced a vegan alternative to one of its k-leather silhouettes last month. The King Platinum 21 Vegan marked the first Puma King football boot made entirely from animal-free materials in the style’s more than 50-year history, Puma said. The company still sells shoes with kangaroo leather on its site.