AS Watson says it will exit its Russia retail business by June – but says the decision was made before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
A spokesperson for the health & beauty retail giant said the reason for the closure was an “unsatisfactory business performance” and that the decision dates back to the end of January.
The company, owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, has 47 stores in St Petersburg
Local staff had tried hard to improve the business’ performance over the years, she said, but “the results are not satisfactory”.
“After serious consideration, we decided to cease this operation by June 2022 and prioritise our investment in other markets.”
The company also operates stores in Ukraine which are unaffected by the decision to quit Russia, the spokeswoman said.
AS Watson operates more than 15,000 stores in at least 25 global markets. The CK Hutchison Holdings subsidiary is still pursuing growth in other regions, having opened its first Qatar store at Doha Festival City in January.
The company says operations in other markets worldwide are unaffected by its decision to close the Russian business.