Support The Moscow Times!

Uniqlo and Other Retailers Freeze Russian Expansion Plans

Uniqlo currently has four stores in Russia and had planned on opening an additional three.

Major foreign restaurant chains and retailers are putting plans to enter the Russian market on hold, while others, such as popular clothing brand Uniqlo, are slowing plans for expansion.

"In 2014 more than 20 well-known foreign brands could have appeared on the Russian market, but now their arrival is under question," said Yulia Sokolova, director of shopping center rentals at real estate consultancy Knight Frank, RBC reported.

Foreign chain activity has significantly slowed in the last three months due to concerns over the unfolding political crisis in Ukraine, Sokolova added.

Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo has halted its expansion in Russia, said Maxim Karbasnikoff, head of retail real estate at Cushman & Wakefield, who is charged with selecting locations for the company.

Uniqlo currently has four stores in Russia and had planned on opening an additional three.

Restaurants under the U.S. franchise Schlotzsky's have not yet appeared as expected, nor have stores under the brand Blue Inc., a British clothing line.

Mekhmet Akpynar, who owns the rights to Schlotzsky's in Russia, said that the store openings are still planned but at a later date. "In a crisis, fast food generally remains popular," Akpynar said.

Others have confirmed their plans to come to Russia, including U.S. bar chain Hooters, Mexican family entertainment center KidZania and the Disney Store.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.