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Starbucks exiting Russia after 15 years amid Ukraine invasion

Click to play video: 'The number of consumer giants suspending business in Russia is growing' The number of consumer giants suspending business in Russia is growing
Carleton University Business Professor Ian Lee talks about the pressure some multinational companies are facing to boycott Russia. – Mar 9, 2022

Starbucks Corp said on Monday it will exit the Russian market after nearly 15 years as the coffee chain joins McDonald’s Corp in marking the end of the presence of some of the top Western brands in the country.

Seattle-based Starbucks has 130 stores in Russia, operated by its licensee Alshaya Group, with nearly 2,000 employees in the country.

Starbucks’ decision to wind down its operation in Russia is different to the approach some other foreign companies have taken.

McDonald’s last week said it was selling its restaurants in Russia to its local licensee Alexander Govor to be rebranded under a new name, but will retain its trademarks, while France’s Renault is selling its majority stake in Russia’s biggest carmaker with an option to buy back the stake.

Read more: Will there be a ‘tipping point’ for Putin as businesses exit Russia? Experts doubt it

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A slew of other Western companies, including Imperial Brands and Shell, are cutting ties with the Russia market by agreeing to sell their assets in the country or handing them over to local managers.

In March, Starbucks shuttered its stores and suspended all business activity in Russia, including the shipment of its products to the country, following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The company, which opened its first outlet in Russia in 2007, said it will continue to support its employees there, including paying them for six months.

Starbucks did not provide details on the financial impact of the exit. McDonald’s had said it would take a primarily non-cash charge of up to $1.4 billion.

(Reporting by Deborah Sophia in Bengaluru; Editing by Louise Heavens and Shounak Dasgupta)

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