The president of the French company Auchan Retail International, Yves Claude, defended on Sunday the group’s decision to maintain its activities in Russianoting that “Leaving would be imaginable economically, but not from the human point of view.”
The company was questioned on Wednesday by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyspeaking before the French Parliament about his activity in Russiawhere it employs 30,000 people.
But auchan decided to stay in the country despite expecting losses in 2022, Claude told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
auchan gets in Russia 10% of its worldwide sales, he recalled.
“We have a position as a discount store and we plan to contribute in times of strong inflation to protect the purchasing power of the inhabitants” Russians, Claude added.
I declare that “it is easy to criticize us, but we are there, we stand up and we act for the civilian population”in response to critics who call on them to get out of Russia.
Like other groups, Claude recalled that going out exposes their local leaders to persecution.
“I question myself every day, because the decision is not easy to make, but I am convinced that it is the right thing to do. I feel supported by my shareholders, my collaborators and our social partners”Claude stated.
In Ukraine, where auchan operates 43 stores with 6,000 employees, the conditions are “extreme” and a shortage of fresh products is beginning to be observed because 90% of it comes from the interior of the country, Claude pointed out.
A hundred Ukrainian employees were received by their colleagues abroad and will be hired by the group elsewhere, the president added.
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