British retailer Marks & Spencer has announced that it will end its franchise agreement in Russia in the coming months, becoming the latest major brand to exit the country following the February 24th invasion of Ukraine.
Following the invasion M&S had said they were unable to close their 48 Russian stores, citing contractual obligations to local partners. The firm has experienced a change of heart as the military operation has rumbled on though, and today said it will exit its current arrangements at a cost of 31 million pounds ($39 million).
Outgoing CEO Steve Rowe told reporters that the retailer would not return to Russia while President Vladimir Putin remained in power.
Rowe is leaving M&S after 39 years with the firm, and will be succeeded by food boss and joint chief operating officer Stuart Machin.
The move is the latest from western businesses keen to distance themselves from Moscow and its actions in recent months. Iconic western brands such as Apple, McDonald’s and Starbucks have already exited the country in light of what Putin describes as a “special military operation”.