Political uncertainty in Russia and Ukraine has lead British fashion retailer New Look to pull its business out of the two countries. The retailer had previously made plans to expand its business in Russia, including buying back 20 of its franchised stores in the country. However those efforts were postponed due to rising geopolitical tensions.
The Financial Times (FT) reported that the company’s Russian partner, Delta, had begun closing its stores after facing significant pressure. New Look attempted to procure a new partner before finally deciding to leave Russia altogether.
New Look CEO Anders Kristiansen told FT, “All retailers are having an extremely tough time in Russia, not just in clothing.” He added, “If that means we will not be present in the Russian market for the next one to two years, we don’t really have a problem with that.”
The company is now refocusing its attention on China, where it aims to have 20 new outlets, in addition to the 14 it already has in the country, by the end of the financial year. New Look also has similar expansion plans for Germany and Poland.
FT reported that several other retailers have faced setbacks as a result of political unrest and economic stagnation in Russia, including Empik Media & Fashion, which was forced to close its Esprit and OVS stores.