Starbucks said on Monday it is exiting the Russian market after nearly 15 years, following in the footsteps of several other top Western brands in protest of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a memo to employees Monday, the Seattle coffee giant said it decided to close its 130 stores and will no longer have a brand presence in Russia. Starbucks said it will continue to pay its nearly 2,000 Russian employees for six months and help them transition to new jobs.
“As I communicated Friday, we condemn the horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia and our hearts go out to all those affected,” Starbucks President Kevin Johnson wrote on the company’s website.
Starbucks’ stores are owned and operated by Alshaya Group, a Kuwait-based franchise operator.
Starbucks entered the Russian market in 2007. In early March, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Starbucks announced that it would keep its Russian stores open but donate any profits to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.
But a few days later – after Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, McDonald’s and others temporarily halted their business in Russia – Starbucks changed course and temporarily closed its Russian stores.
Starbucks’ move follows McDonald’s exit from the Russian market last week. McDonald’s said it was selling its restaurants in Russia to its local licensee Alexander Govor to be rebranded under a new name, but will retain its trademarks – the stores, however, won’t be allowed to use McDonald’s name or menu.
A slew of other Western companies, including Imperial Brands and Shell, are cutting ties with the Russian market by agreeing to sell their assets in the country or handing them over to local managers. Among them is also France’s Renault, which is selling its majority stake in Russia’s biggest carmaker with an option to buy back the stake.