Shortly after the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine the fashion manufacturer Hugo Boss AG announced a temporary suspension of its own retail business operations in Russia, yet the Russian customs data analyzed by Die Zeit shows that the company resumed exporting to Russia after a brief hiatus in the spring of 2022.
According to the data, Hugo Boss earned approximately 6.27 billion rubles (around 70 million euro) in Russia in 2022, making it the most successful foreign luxury brand in the country. Moreover, the value of Hugo Boss goods delivered there since the beginning of the war is higher than the year before.
Last year, more than 15,000 deliveries were declared to Russian customs, all of them going to the Russian subsidiary Hugo Boss Rus LLC, where 157 people work, according to the company.
Are Hugo Boss stores open?
Although Hugo Boss said it has “temporarily suspended its own retail and online business in Russia at the beginning of March 2022 as a result of the war,” the company’s stores in Russia listed on its website remain open.
Following a call to Hugo Boss customer service representatives on 3rd June B4Ukraine were informed that all shops were open, new collections available and we were emailed a list of open shops.
Even though there is confusion on whether these stores are operated by Hugo Boss directly or via third parties, the irrefutable fact is that the company’s goods keep flowing into the country that keeps committing war crimes in Ukraine.
Hasn’t the EU imposed sanctions on luxury goods?
As part of the economic sanctions, the EU has imposed a number of import and export restrictions on Russia. This means that European entities cannot sell certain products to Russia. Included in these measures are ‘luxury goods’ (e.g. luxury cars, watches, jewellery, suits) with a value of more than 300 euros.
However, Hugo Boss has found loopholes to keep on exporting. For instance, they have coats on sale in Russia for approx. 475 euros and a suit listed for 529 euros. The explanation for this is that the value is assessed in the country of origin, so Hugo Boss goods such as suits clear that obstacle.
Why is Hugo Boss operating in Russia a problem?
Hugo Boss should be ashamed that they are doing business with a country committing crimes against humanity and ecocide. It’s unthinkable that while the German government provides support to Ukraine, a German company is contributing taxes to Putin’s war chest with which he can maintain the war.
“By continuing to export their products Hugo Boss is also sending a message to the Russian elite that they can continue to live in luxury while millions of Ukrainians suffer. There is no place for doing business with a country that wages wars of conquest,” said Nataliia Popovych, a member of B4Ukraine Steering Committee.
The B4Ukraine Coalition demands Hugo Boss to cease all exports of its products into Russia!