Privately-owned French retailer Auchan plans for Russia to continue its presence, its CEO stated in an interview published by the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche. This led to Ukraine calling for a boycott.
Auchan has around 30,000 employees, 231 stores, and e-commerce operations in Russia. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zeleskiy has already criticised Auchan for being operational in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
Interview published Sunday by Auchan’s chief executive Yves Claude. He stated that he feared the company could lose assets or expose local managers to possible legal trouble if it pulled out from Russia.
Claude stated that the firm would remain in Ukraine where 43 of its supermarkets and approximately 6,000 employees were operating in “extreme conditions”, including in war-torn regions.
Claude stated that the most important thing in his eyes was to keep his employees employed and to fulfill our primary mission which is to continue feeding these two countries’ peoples.
The report was reacted to by the Ukrainian foreign minister who called for a boycott against Auchan and all its products.
Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that “apparently, job losses in Russia were more important than the death of life in Ukraine.”
Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, stated that it was essential for all Western companies to leave Russia and not make a profit from “cheap communication”. He specifically cited Auchan and Nestle , a Swiss food giant.
Russia was home to a staggering 3.2 billion euro in sales last year. This is around 10% of the company’s global sales. The company expects to lose money in Russia this year.
Moscow claims that the goal of what Putin calls a special military operation is to demilitarize and “denazify” its neighbor. This is a pretext to invading Ukraine without its Western allies.