Because of the war in Ukraine, more and more companies are withdrawing from Russia. There is now also a call for Ikea to (temporarily) boycott Russia in Sweden. It could well be that more retailers will follow suit.
“Show that it can be done”
Swedish media are calling on Ikea to close all Russian stores or take a stand in some other way as long as the war in Ukraine is ongoing. The initiators, an organisation for Ukrainians in the Nordic countries and B2B software producer ID24, are reminding people of Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad’s sense of justice. “We believe that Ingvar Kamprad would not have hesitated for a second to show solidarity in some way with the Ukrainian people”, they state in an opinion piece in Aftonbladet.
Just like the political world and the banks, it is now time for the business world to impose sanctions on Russia, the argument continues. Other companies that are already taking suspension actions include shipping companies MSC and Maersk, as well as the Swedish brands Ericsson, Scania and Volvo. Shell and BP, Twitter and Facebook, and more, have also already announced measures.
Now it is up to retailers such as Ikea, according to Olena Velychko (Nordic Ukraine Forum) and Jakob Gottlieb (ID24). The target Ikea specifically, as no fewer than one in five furniture pieces sold in Russia are said to come from the home furnishing chain. “Many other chains in Russia are international. Someone has to take the first step and show that it can be done.” And as a symbolic value, the blue and yellow colours – just like the Ukrainian flag – of the logo can undoubtedly add to it.
“Great opportunity to strengthen your brand”
“Individual companies could cripple an entire industry in Russia. How? By refusing to sell critical parts and materials, such as saw blades for the wood industry, car parts and supplies for the chemical industry”, they say. “Closing or reducing operations in Russia is a clear expression of opposition to the war in Ukraine.”
It would also be an excellent addition to sustainability and marketing reports, the campaigners add: “This is a great opportunity to strengthen your brand by promoting and communicating your democratic traditions and values through actions that help bring about change.”
With Russian banks cut off from the international payments operator SWIFT, international transactions and payments have become much more difficult anyway, putting foreign retailers in the country in a difficult financial position. The value of the rouble has also plummeted, making trading even less attractive.