Swedish fast fashion retailer H&M plans to reopen its stores in Ukraine even as the country continues to fight against the Russian invasion, which began some 18 months ago.
"The company has been in close dialogue with partners and authorities and is now planning to gradually reopen most of its stores in the country from November 2023," the Stockholm-based retailer said on Thursday (Aug 24).
The announcement came on Ukraine's independence day.
Many other Western corporations such as the fast-food chain McDonald's have already resumed business in Ukraine.
The Spanish group Inditex with its brands Zara, Bershka and Pull & Bear is also expected to reopen its Ukrainian shops in autumn, according to media reports.
Before the war, foreign brands had a retail market share of almost 60%, according to industry insiders.
H&M, like many other international groups, closed all of its nine shops in Ukraine after the Russian attack on Feb 24, 2022.
The company did not say which shops would reopen first.
"As H&M Group continues to monitor developments in the country, preparations are being made to reopen the majority of the H&M stores where possible," the statement said.
"The safety of colleagues and customers will always be the first and foremost priority."
Apart from H&M donations, the group said it would work with local organisations and participate in relief and rebuilding programmes.
The first Ukrainian H&M shop had opened in Kiev almost exactly five years ago. – dpa