EU Chains Metro and SPAR Still Operating in Ukraine and Russia

German wholesaler Metro and a Dutch food retailer Spar International BV announced on Wednesday that they are still operating in Ukraine and Russia.

SPAR is keeping stores running either by reducing opening hours or paying salaries through international banks. 

SPAR also said that 95% of its stores located in Western Ukraine continued to operate, albeit with limited hours, while Metro said 21 of its 26 Ukraine stores remained open.

A SPAR spokesperson said they were unable to provide details about stores in east Ukraine that bore the brunt of Russia’s invasion, but said they were encountering supply chain challenges.

SPAR said that it has 68 stores in Ukraine that are both company-owned and independently operated.

“The primary concern of SPAR Ukraine is of the safety of both their employees and customers,” the company said, echoing similar sentiments from Metro, which employs 3,400 people in Ukraine.

Metro also added that none of its employees had been injured in the conflict and that it had evacuated employees and their families from its store in Mariupol on the border with Russia, which was closed due to security concerns.

In Russia, SPAR and Metro said they continued to operate business as usual,  paying salaries and suppliers via international banks not affected by sanctions imposed since the invasion of Ukraine.

The company said it feels responsible for its more than 10,000 employees in Russia, a Metro spokesperson said, adding that these people bear no personal responsibility for the aggression against Ukraine.

Metro, which has 93 stores in the country, did not go into more detail but said the decision to pay employees through international banks was not new.

Global brands, including Boeing and BP, have said they are exiting or suspending operations in Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

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