Paul Smith to stop trading in Russia
Paul Smith said it was pulling out of Russia almost a year after most western brands stopped trading in the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
The British luxury fashion house came under intense scrutiny last week after it emerged that its products were still being sold in the country through a franchise partner.
“We now realise it was a mistake to allow these stores to continue trading in our name against the background of the war in Ukraine,” said a spokesperson for the company.
“We have requested that these stores are closed and we have now ceased all supplies to the distributor.”
The retailer, best known for its multicoloured accessories and formalwear, has been supplying at least one shop in Moscow with many of the very latest products, according to the Daily Mail.
Western companies led an exodus from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Burberry closed boutiques and ended franchise agreements with Russian partners in March 2022.
Many brands feared the reputational and ethical backlash from remaining in the country. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told the US Congress in March 2022 that western businesses should leave Russia “because it is flooded with our blood”.
Paul Smith opened his first eponymous boutique in Nottingham in 1970, building it into a brand with more than 100 stores worldwide. He was made a CBE in 1994, given a knighthood by former prime minister Tony Blair in 2000, and made a Companion of Honour in 2020.
Paul Smith Group reported a pre-tax loss of £7mn on annual revenues of £197mn in its last financial year ending 30 June 2022.