Lego halts Russian operations 'indefinitely' with 81 stores to close

Company's Moscow staff let go as Lego cites 'extensive disruption in the operating environment'

Lego has followed many other companies in pulling out of Russia.  AFP
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The world's largest toymaker, Denmark's Lego, said on Tuesday it would stop all its Russian operations, ending the employment of its Moscow staff and its partnership with a company operating 81 stores in Russia.

A Lego representative said the company had decided to “indefinitely cease commercial operations in Russia given the continued extensive disruption in the operating environment”.

This included terminating the employment of most of the Moscow-based team and a partnership with Inventive Retail Group which “operated 81 stores on the brand's behalf”, she added.

The company had already halted deliveries to Russia in March following the invasion of Ukraine.

“We confirm the termination of the contract with Lego,” an Inventive Retail Group representative said on Tuesday.

“Our company will continue to work as an expert in the category of construction and educational toys,” she said.

In early May, Russia placed Lego products on a list of goods that could be imported without the agreement of the intellectual property owner to bypass restrictions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.

Among the list published by the industry and commerce ministry were Apple and Samsung smartphones, major car brands, game consoles and spare parts used in various industries.

Many western brands have exited Russia, seeking to comply with sanctions and deal with threats from the Kremlin that foreign-owned assets may be seized.

Updated: July 12, 2022, 2:02 PM