Auchan, the CEO of privately owned French supermarket chain Auchan, said Ukrainian President Wolodimir Zelensky claims that French companies still active in neighboring countries are “sponsoring Russia’s war machines.” He said he plans to maintain his presence in Russia on March 27th.
In an interview published in a French newspaper Journal DudymancheCEO Eve Claude said the grocery chain’s decision to continue operating in Russia is “human.”
Auchan Retail has been in Russia for 20 years and employs about 30,000 workers, 40% of whom are shareholders of the company.
Claude fears that unplugging a company’s business in Russia could rob employees of their income and risk exposing local managers to potential legal issues. Said.
According to Claude, the company remains in Ukraine, despite 43 supermarkets and about 6,000 workers operating in “find solutions” and “extreme conditions” in ongoing conflicts. “I don’t want to close it,” he said. In a war-stricken area.
“The most important thing in our eyes is to ensure our primary mission of retaining employees and feeding the populations of these two countries,” Claude said. ..
“It’s easy to criticize us, but we’re here,” Claude added.
Auchan has no plans to leave Russia for now, but Claude said he did not expect business in Russia to make a profit this year. The Russian market generated € 3.2 billion ($ 3.51 billion) in revenue in 2021. This represents 10% of Auchan Retail’s total revenue.
“Leaving can be imagined from an economic point of view, but not from a human point of view,” Claude said.
Claude’s comment comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Vladimir Putin of sponsoring a military operation and called on French companies, including Auchan and car maker Renault, to withdraw from Russia. am.
During ~ 15 minute video address Zelenskyy attended the French Parliament on March 23 and urged French companies to “quit the Russian market.”
“Renault, Ochan, Leroy Merlin and others must stop sponsoring Russian war machinery,” Zelensky said. “Every company needs to remember once that value is more valuable than profit, especially blood profit.”
On March 26, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba boycotts Auchan, French sporting goods retailer Decathlon, French-based home improvement brand Leroy Merlin, and Spain’s second-largest hypermarket chain, Alcampo. I urged the company to do so.
“Obviously, unemployment in Russia is more important than loss of life in Ukraine,” Kleber said. I have written On Twitter. “If Auchan ignores the 139 Ukrainian children killed in this month’s invasion of Russia, ignore Auchan and all its products,” he said, calling on the company’s boycott.
The Renault Group announced last week that it would shut down its Moscow manufacturing plant on March 23, amid international pressure and a boycott threat.
The company also downgraded its financial outlook after the outage, saying it expects the group’s operating margin to be about 3%, compared to at least 4% before.
Reuters contributed to this report.