Pressure is continuing to mount on Marks & Spencer as a Conservative MP has joined calls for the British retailer to immediately shut its stores across Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Alica Kearns said any profits generated by operations in the region would be tainted by the war crimes carried out during the conflict. Kearns was joined by a number of Ukrainian parliamentarians who each requested the UK government to apply more pressure on retailers still operating in Russia.
Alyona Shkrum was among those speaking during the meeting and suggested that any money generated in Russia was going to support its army, further highlighting a handful of recent reports that alleged several accounts of sexual misconduct by invading troops.
In a statement to the Guardian, Kearns said: “It is wrong that some British businesses continue to operate, because all they are doing is buttressing Putin’s brutality and funding his war coffers.”
It comes as Marks & Spencer reinstated its commitment to the Ukrainian crisis on BBC News, stating its inability to close its stores was based on franchise agreements that could result in legal consequences. However, the retailer has continued to face heavy criticism, with the publication noting that other chains, like McDonald’s, have managed to discontinue their Russian franchises by citing differing agreements.
In a statement to the media outlet, Marks & Spencer said it did not operate stores or have any employees in Russia, with its franchise licensee holding all the rights to trade under its banner.
Most recently, the department store chain was revealed to be the lead sponsor of ITV’s Concert for Ukraine, a televised fundraising event for which all proceeds will go to supporting the Disasters Emergency Committee.