Exclusive – Nike to pull out of Russia entirely, downsizing in coming months

© Reuters. People walk past a closed store of sporting goods retailer Nike in a shopping mall in St. Petersburg, Russia, on May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

By Mimosa Spencer, Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Richa Naidu

Paris/Copenhagen/London (Reuters) – American sportswear maker nike The company said in an emailed statement on Thursday that it would fully withdraw from Russia after a three-month suspension of operations there.

Nike said on March 3 it would suspend operations at all its Nike-owned and operated stores in Russia in response to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, adding that those that remained open were run by independent partners.

On Thursday, it joined other major Western brands such as McDonald’s (NYSE: ) and Google (NASDAQ: ) in confirming that it will leave the country entirely.

Foreign companies seeking to withdraw from Russia in the Ukraine war face the prospect of passing new laws in the coming weeks, allowing Moscow to seize assets and impose criminal penalties. This has encouraged some businesses to leave faster.

“Nike has decided to leave the Russian market. Our priority is to ensure that we fully support our employees while responsibly downsizing our operations in the coming months,” the company said in an emailed statement.

For Nike, which generates less than 1% of its total revenue from Ukraine and Russia, the move is largely symbolic rather than material impact on its performance.

The company has a history of taking stances on social and political issues, from supporting American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest racism, to dropping Brazilian football stars last year for refusing to cooperate Marr is under investigation into allegations of sexual assault.

Russian media reported in May that Nike has yet to renew its agreement with Inventive Retail Group (IRG), its largest franchisee in Russia, which operates 37 Nike-branded stores in Russia through its subsidiary Up And Run.

Nike shares rose nearly 1 percent in U.S. premarket trading.

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