Finnish retailers pull Russian products from shelves | News


An S-Group spokesperson said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “shocking and completely reprehensible.”

The S-Group is removing some 50 Russian-sourced products from shelves, including food, sports equipment, textiles and other consumer goods. Image: Erkka Mikkonen / Yle

Finland’s state-owned alcohol outlet Alko and retail cooperative S-Group said on Monday morning that they would remove all Russian products from store shelves, due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The other main retail group, Kesko (K) said around midday that it would stop purchases of Russian products and exports to Russia.

“What is happening in Ukraine is shocking and completely reprehensible,” S-Group’s SVP of groceries Sampo Päällysaho said in a statement.

He added that customers were looking for ways to influence the situation in Ukraine.

“For us, drawing a line about our product range is a way to do that,” Päällysaho said.

The cooperative is removing a total of around 50 Russian-sourced products from store shelves, including items like food, sports equipment, textiles and other consumer goods.

S-Group’s shops in Estonia made a similar decision on Friday.

S-Group is a customer-owned network of firms in the retail and service industry, with more than 1,800 outlets in Finland. It operates chains including Prisma hypermarkets as well as Alepa grocery stores.

K Group stops Russian purchases and exports

Kesko said it had decided to stop purchasing Russian products and exporting food to Russia in reaction to “the appalling situation in Ukraine”.

The company noted that it withdrew from the Russian retail market in 2018 and that since then, its purchases from Russia have been very minimal.

Kesko owns the K chain of grocery stores, including some 1,800 shops in Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Baltic countries and Poland.

Alko stops sales of Russian drinks

Similarly, Alko announced on Monday that it discussed the range of Russian-sourced products on its store shelves with importers as well as customers.

Starting on Monday, no Russian products would be sold at Alko shops and such products were also no longer visible on the alcohol retailer’s online store.

“The situation in Ukraine is exceptional and shocking and we are taking it seriously,” Alko’s EVP of assortment and procurement, Anu Koskinen, said.

Additionally, the Automobile and Touring Club of Finland (Autoliitto) announced it was revoking petrol service station Teboil’s membership benefits programme, as Teboil is owned by Russian petroleum giant Lukoil.

Its CEO and principle owner is oligarch Vagit Alekperov. He was among the business leaders summoned to a meeting at the Kremlin on Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The CEO of Teboil’s Finnish division is another Russian businessman, Alexey Moskalenko.

Until the change, auto club members received fuel discounts at Teboil’s approximately 320 stations in Finland.

Tokmanni donates proceeds from remaining Teboil products

The Finnish discount retail chain Tokmanni also said on Monday it would pull Russian products from shelves at its nearly 200 shops around Finland. It said it would immediately stop sourcing products of Russian origin, including Teboil products.

“We are considering a responsible way to remove Teboil’s products from Tokmanni’s range. We’ll sell the remaining products to customers because proper disposal of usable petroleum products would put a strain on the environment. Proceeds from the sale of the remaining Teboil products will be donated through an international organization to help Ukrainians,” Tokmanni communications director Veli-Pekka Ääri said in a statement.

Auto parts retailers Motonet and Varaosamaailma also announced plans to remove Teboil products from their selection. The firms said they would suspend their cooperation with the Finland-based Russian subsidiary.

Meanwhile, the Finnish Hospitality Association (MaRa) has issued a recommendation to its member restaurant and bar operators to discontinue the sale of Russian products.

The lobby group’s recommendation covers the sale of all food and beverage products made in Russia, including Russian vodkas, according to a statement issued by the association on Monday.

This article will be updated.

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