Lindt & Sprüngli has quit Russia altogether five months after the Swiss chocolate maker and retailer suspended operations in the country.
In a brief statement, the Lindor brand owner said: “Lindt & Sprüngli Group decided to exit the Russian market. We will support our employees in Russia and act in accordance with local regulations.”
Following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine late in February, Lindt & Sprüngli’s initial stance was to continue operating its eight stores in Russia. CEO Dieter Weisskopf said on 8 March: “We are supplying [Russia] as far as we can in line with other companies,” adding the business would “look at the situation on a daily basis”.
A day later, the CHF4.6bn (US$4.8bn) global business reversed its position with a decision to close the stores, which employ 125 staff.
“We have re-evaluated our business activities in Russia and decided to temporarily close our shops with immediate effect and suspend all of our deliveries to Russia. Our local employees will continue to receive our support and we will remain in close contact with them,” the company said at the time.
Russia and Ukraine together account for less than 1% of Lindt & Sprüngli’s total sales.
Approached by Just Food, a spokesperson for Lindt & Sprüngli clarified the eight stores are rented, relieving the company of unforeseen pressures.
Lamb Weston, for instance, the US-based frozen potato products manufacturer, revealed last month it would have to write off a joint venture in Russia at a cost of US$62.7m following its initial exit announcement in May.
And in May, Denmark-headquartered dairy major Arla Foods said it had sold its Russian business to the family of local management after suspending operations in March.
For more on Just Food’s coverage on how the conflict is affecting the food industry, please visit our dedicated microsite.