L'Occitane says it’s not closing stores in Russia

L'Occitane says it’s not closing stores in Russia

The firm told the BBC it had discussed closing its stores at length but said it did not because it wanted to protect staff from potential retaliation. Some customers criticised L'Occitane for its decision and called for a boycott of the brand, which sold at more than 3,085 retail outlets worldwide and had sales of €1.5 bn 1.3 bn last year.

The cosmetics firm, which has spas and stores in Russian cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg, said it could not take the risk of closing its shops.

A spokeswoman told the BBC that we cannot guarantee that our 700 employees in Russia will not be subject to retaliation if we cease to operate in the country.

She said that we are particularly concerned about those of our employees who have relatives in Ukraine or who are of Ukrainian descent.

It didn't say anything about whether it had continued online sales in the country and what the impact of stopping shipments would have on Russian shops.

Among them are the French energy giant EDF, the UAE's Emirates airline, and China's Lenovo computer brand. A larger group of around 600 big firms have pulled out of Russia or suspended sales since it invaded, including Starbucks, Coca Cola, Levi's and Apple.

Other international outlets still open in Russia have said they are not able to shut stores due to complex franchise deals preventing them from withdrawing. Burger King and the Marriott and Accor hotels are among the firms that aren't allowed to participate in these arrangements.

On Tuesday, some independent Nike stores were found to be operating in Russia over a week after the sportswear brand said it was temporarily closing all its shops in the country.