IKEA has become the latest company to temporarily close all stores and factories in Russia since the country invaded Ukraine.
Joining what is a fast-growing collection of Western companies, notably including M&S, Volkswagen Group, Expedia, Diageo, H&M, and even Manchester-based fashion retailer Boohoo, Swedish furniture giant IKEA has confirmed that it has halted all operations at its 17 outlets across Russia, which is said to affect 15,000 workers.
Production at three IKEA manufacturing sites in Russia will also be paused, and all imports and exports in and out of the country, as well as for its ally Belarus, will be halted.
The retailer has however opted to keep its ‘Mega’ shopping centres open to allow access to essential retailers.
This announcement was said to have prompted a rush of shoppers at the stores due to close.
As reported by The Guardian, brand owner Inter Ikea and store owner Ingka Group both said they had “secured employment and income stability” for the workers directly impacted by the decision to halt operations, including its 416 co-workers in Ukraine, where its one store and online operations have been suspended since the start of the invasion on 24 February.
IKEA has had a presence in Russia since 2000, and is understood to be one of its largest western employers across the country.
Speaking on the decision to temporarily close stores and factories in Russia, a spokesperson for IKEA said: “The war has a huge human impact already and it is also resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions, [so] for all of these reasons, the company groups have decided to temporarily pause Ikea operations in Russia.”
As mentioned, IKEA is one of the latest retailers to suspend operations in Russia, and joins a number of high-profile companies that have already taken similar steps.
M&S said it has suspended shipments to its Turkish franchisee’s business in Russia – which has 48 stores and 1,200 employees – with the retailer explaining: “We are building on our existing support for Unicef’s UK’s Ukraine appeal with a £1.5m package to support the UN Refugee Agency and Unicef to help children and families in need.”
It also said it was sending £500,000 worth of coats and thermals to Ukraine, where it ceased operations at 10 stores a week ago.
Car manufacturer Volkswagen Group announced it had stopped production of vehicles in Russia until further notice, as has Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, and Renault, while drinks company Diageo – which most-notably makes Smirnoff vodka – said it had paused exports to Russia and Ukraine, and online booking firm Expedia became one of the first travel companies to stop selling travel in and out of Russia.
Additionally, earlier in the week, a significant number of fashion brands made the decision to place various sanctions on Russia.
On Wednesday, the British online retailers Boohoo and ASOS announced they had suspended sales in the country, as did the Swedish clothing giant H&M, Spanish fashion retailer Mango, and sportswear giant Nike, while Adidas has made the decision to suspend its partnership with the Russian Football Union.
Tech giant Apple is pausing sales, and Meta said it had stopped recommending content from Russian state media to all users of Facebook, with Instagram set to follow.
The Walt Disney Company, Sony, and Warner Bros are pausing their release of films in Russia, and Netflix also announced it has no plans to distribute news, sport, and entertainment channels from Russian state media.
Featured Image – Wikimedia Commons
A Salford man is running 365km in a heartwarming marathon challenge on behalf of The Christie
A man from Salford is taking on the extraordinary challenge of running 365km over the course of 365 days and eight marathons, all on behalf of The Christie.
Approaching his 36th birthday, Connor Robinson from Worsley had always had a huge desire to do something positive in his life and after his best friend suffered a loss in the family, he was determined to help in any way he could.
With that in mind, the Salfordian decided to set himself the challenge of running 365km in 365 days across the span of eight and a half marathons around Europe to raise money for The Christie Charity.
The initial inspiration for this challenge came from Connor’s best friend Jack Prady, whose mum Tracy was treated at The Christie Hospital here in Manchester and sadly died of bowel cancer in April 2020.
Jack went on to set up the TP23 Foundation in memory of her and ran an incredible 252 miles, raising more than £30,000 for the beloved local charity and cancer treatment facility.
Inspired by his best mate’s accomplishment, Connor felt that he wanted to “do his bit” and help contribute to the fantastic fundraising that Jack had done. And it’s that classic thing, isn’t it? If your mate does something impressive, you can’t help but want to match.
That being said, Robinson set himself the huge goal of taking on not just one marathon but eight — plus an extra half-marathon for good measure — all around Europe to complete the set.
Having never been a runner, the property director knew that completing even one marathon would be a challenge for him, but seeing what his friend Jack had already achieved for such a great cause and in his mother’s memory was more than enough to spur Connor on.
The two local lads putting in the graft.
Then, just 10 weeks into his 18-week training programme on 10 January this year, Connor’s own dad, Wayne Robinson, was also sadly diagnosed with a type of throat cancer.
A non-smoker and drinker, Wayne’s cancer was unfortunately caused by the HPV virus. Having now started treatment at The Christie, receiving daily radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Connor has all the more motivation to take on the challenge.
“Whilst I am running this challenge in Jack’s mum Tracy’s memory, it is also for every single person who’s ever needed the remarkable services provided by The Christie – especially my dad”, explained Connor. “When starting this challenge, I wanted to take it across Europe and spread the name and awareness of The Christie not just throughout the North West but the whole of the UK and beyond!
“There’s probably no other family I have been closer to over the last 15+ years than the Pradys and I have seen first-hand the immediate and long-lasting impact cancer has on loved ones, but also how much needed and invaluable the treatment and care received by The Christie was.”
Connor’s friends and family will be following his journey and supporting him along the way and, like a best mate would, Jack has even vowed to run every marathon with him.
Their first marathon together will be on Sunday, 10 March in Barcelona and Connor will be documenting their journey on Instagram, @letsrunwithconnor.
So far, Connor has raised over £3,000 just through his training runs with Jack, which is 90% of the initial target of £3600. Their eight marathons will take place in Barcelona, right here in Manchester this April; Leeds, Edinburgh, Chester, Dublin, Athens and Valencia, with the final half marathon still to be decided.
You can donate to Connor 365km in 365 days marathon fundraiser HERE and wish you all the best of luck, lads — go and smash it!
These two aren’t the only Greater Mancunians who are taking on multiple marathons on behalf of the vital NHS Foundation Trust this year.
Outdated Manchester building could become new ‘innovation hub’ as part of £1.7bn transformation plans
An outdated Manchester building could be “reactivated” into a brand-new innovation hub as part of ambitious transformation plans.
The Renold Building – which dates back to 1962, and was the first of its kind UK at the time – will take on a new lease of life, and become a home for “forward-thinking entrepreneurs and SMEs” to develop new ideas and solutions that will help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.
ID Manchester is an “ambitious” plan to transform the University’s former North Campus into a “welcoming and accessible” new £1.7 billion innovation district.
We’re happy to share plans for ID Manchester's innovation hub, reactivating the Renold Building as a home for science and tech start-ups. With coworking, office & community event spaces, it will be central to the #IDManchester ecosystem.
According to UoM, the new vision for the Renold Building will celebrate its history as an educational hub by hosting the next wave of science and technology innovators, and building an inclusive and purpose-driven community.
The city centre building will provide a range of coworking, office, and meeting facilities to accommodate and support collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and partner organisations.
On top of this, new events and exhibition spaces – including lecture theatres, and a community cafe – will be accessible to local businesses, community groups, and arts and culture organisations as part of the project, so that they have the chance to host and participate in a wide range of engaging events and activities.
Outdated Manchester building could become new ‘innovation hub’ as part of £1.7bn transformation plans / Credit: Bruntwood
“The Renold Building will be an invaluable place to bring together like-minded organisations and partners to collaborate, develop, and test new ideas,” commented John Holden, who is the Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects at UoM.
“We’re building our innovation ecosystem from the ground up, and the Renold Building will be a place that not only accelerates the growth of our city’s most promising entrepreneurs, SMEs and university spin-outs, but also provides the spaces and opportunities to allow our local communities to participate, experience and benefit from innovation too.”