The closure of Decathlon stores in Russia had already been announced by the Mulliez group, owner of the brand at the end of March. After the closure of 60 stores in the cities where it operates, the group, owned by the Mulliez holding company, will also have to lower the curtain on its Moscow-based entities on June 26, according to information from the Moscow Times Thursday. In other words, via online activity in particular, there were still some commercial activities of the brand in the country sanctioned by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
Also, the confirmation of the store closures in Moscow indicates that the suspension had not yet hit all of the group’s stores: “Decathlon indicated in the spring that it could temporarily cease its activities in Russia and closed approximately half of its least visited stores,” a company source told the Russian newspaper.
Local merchants had also done everything to preserve the highly frequented Moscow sites of the brand established in Russia since 2006 and appreciated by consumers. But the blocking of imports, following sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine, leading to product shortages, has brought the brand back to closing the remaining stores.
A “temporary” closure, before a new supply chain
“A fortnight ago, chain officials said that the deliveries had been successfully organized and that there would be no closure,” the Moscow newspaper wrote on Wednesday. But the French chain of sporting and leisure goods had to face the facts when it was unable to place orders in the company’s online store, noted a correspondent from the Moscow Times. Decathlon did not react to the request from the media.
In the end, Decathlon, which owns nearly 60 points of sale and an e-commerce site in 25 Russian cities, must also apply the closure to its 22 windows present in the capital region populated by nearly 13 million inhabitants.
Also, “in order not to leave stores with empty shelves”, local officials argue that the closures within a few weeks are “temporary”, before “permanent” reopenings, “until it is possible to organize an uninterrupted supply to replenish the assortment”, writes the Moscow Times. The retail chain employs 2,500 people in Russia.
In the meantime, the challenge for the Nordic group is indeed to ensure new supply points for the raw materials used in the manufacture of its leisure products. The distribution group is one of the few French to maintain its activity in Russia. The Auchan and Leroy Merlin stores remain open for the time being.
In the world of distribution, the American giant McDonald’s has decided to sell its activities to a new Russian brand which has taken over its stores.
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