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LVMH and Richemont suspend operations in Russia

LVMH and Richemont have joined Swatch group in suspending operations in Russia, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Kering Group, home to Gucci, has also withdrawn following protests in the West and mounting operational challenges and concerns about staff in the country.

Cartier’s website says all its boutiques in Moscow are closed today (March 5).

Independents Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille — all contacted by WATCHPRO this week — have so far not commented on any change in their plans, 10 days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.

LVMH, home to Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith; and Richemont, which has Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Panerai in its portfolio of watch brands, will be closing its own boutiques in Russia, but has not commented on whether distribution will continue to Russian partners.

Mercury, Russia’s largest retailer of luxury watches, remains open.

It has 35 jewellery and watch boutiques in Moscow, seven in St Petersburg and five in Sochi representing Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, Hublot, Breguet, Girard-Perregaux, Tudor, Zenith, Bell & Ross, Breitling, Blancpain, De Bethune, Urwerk, DeWitt, Greubel Forsey, Ulysse Nardin, TAG Heuer, Gucci and Channel.

Mercury’s Russian owners also own Phillips auction house, which is facing calls for people to boycott its sales in protest at the  invasion.

There have been reports that wealthy Russians have been buying up luxury watches and jewellery as a way of protecting their finances.

Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, told Bloomberg earlier this week that the company had a seen a rise in sales since the war began.

Russia was the 17th largest market in the world for Swiss watches last year, receiving exports worth CHF 260 million with a retail value of over half a billion francs.

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1 Comment

  1. Whilst some luxury brands are suspending business in Russia, when does ‘suspending’ become defacto withdrawing altogether and so something more than temporary? Is it a case of not wanting to burn bridges? Or for some brands a concern that share prices will be hit even more?

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