Paris, March 27th. – The French distribution group Auchan, which operates in Spain under the banner of Alcampo, confirmed on Sunday that it will continue its activity in Russia because abandoning it at this time would be “unthinkable from a human point of view”.
The company was directly questioned by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, when he indicated on March 23, in a remote speech to French parliamentarians, that Auchan, Renault (PA :), Leroy Merlin (MC 🙂 and others ceased to be “patrons of the Russian war machine.”
“His words are unfair. The most important thing in our opinion is to preserve our workers and ensure our main mission, which is to feed the people,” the group’s chief executive, Yves Claude, told the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.
Auchan has been in Russia for about 20 years, has about 30 thousand workers, of whom about 40% are also shareholders, and 231 stores, which the manager fears will be confiscated if they leave.
“We are sure that we will help our workers and the civilian population with our survival,” added Claude, who noted that his group had already halted investments in Russia and that its subsidiary was operating independently.
Auchan recorded a turnover of 3.2 billion euros in 2021, equivalent to 10% of its global turnover, and expects losses in 2022.
The CEO, who said he was ready to take criticism in this regard, said that although the decision was not easy, he is convinced it is “one right.”
Renault, which has its second largest market in Russia after France, announced on the same day Zelensky’s speech that it was suspending its activities in Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Instead, Leroy Merlin decided to stay on: “We have no reason to condemn our Russian teams for a war they didn’t choose,” the company said on March 24, also warning that an overnight shutdown would open the door to potential property confiscation. Strengthening Russian financial resources.
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