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Starbucks Joins Growing List of Companies Exiting Russia

Starbucks Joins Growing List of Companies Exiting Russia

In response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Starbucks has announced that it will leave the Russian market and close all 130 stores located in the country. In a statement made May 23, 2022, Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson noted that the company will support its nearly 2,000 associates in Russia with six months of pay and job search assistance. Starbucks entered the Russian market in 2007 and its franchises in the country are operated by Kuwait-based Alshaya Group.

“As we mentioned on March 8, we have suspended all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products,” Johnson said in a statement. “Starbucks has made the decision to exit and no longer have a brand presence in the market.”

A group of brands — including Starbucks — joined the CMO Council in March as part of a “Brands Bucking Russia” initiative to show their solidarity with Ukraine by suspending business in Russia. Many also offered charitable support to Ukrainian citizens and businesses impacted by the conflict. As the conflict continues, the list of participating brands has grown and many are now considering an exit from the country, selling their businesses within the market or transferring interest to Russia-based investors.

On May 16, Chris Kempczinski, CEO of McDonald’s, shared a letter with the company’s owners and operators, employees and suppliers around the globe stating that the fast-food giant would “completely exit the Russian market” and begin the process of “de-Arching a major market.” The company decided to sell its portfolio of McDonald’s restaurants in the region after having a presence in Russia for more than 30 years. Following the Cold War, McDonald’s entrance into the Russian market had served as a signal of hope and warming relations between Russia and the West as cultural influences from the U.S. experienced a more welcoming response.

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TJX, which owns T.J. Maxx and Marshalls recently divested its equity ownership in off-price retailer Familia, impacting more than 400 stores in Russia, according The New York Times.

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