Adidas doesn’t know when it will resume Russian business operations, CEO says

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told CNBC on Wednesday that it’s too soon to know when the company will restart business operations in Russia.

“I think this is premature. The war has been going on for two weeks, and at this stage we’re taking the right decision at this moment. … I think it’s very difficult to make any dogmatic decision at this stage,” Rorsted said in an interview that aired on “Closing Bell.”

“We will deal with the situation as the world moves on, but right now we’re trying to deal with that situation immediately and in the right way,” he added.

The German sportswear company said earlier this week it is shuttering its Russian stores and pausing online sales in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Reuters reported Adidas operates about 500 stores in Russia. The company also suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union on March 1.

Adidas is among the hundreds of companies that have halted or curtailed Russian business operations in recent days, including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Apple.

The company reported a rosy 2022 outlook on Wednesday, forecasting a 11% to 13% increase in currency-neutral sales, which takes into account business risks in Russia and Ukraine. Rorsted said he’s focusing on supporting Ukraine while achieving company growth.

“I don’t mean to sound cynical, but it’s getting the balance between the two right because Russia is about 2% of our revenue, and we still need to take care of that, and also make sure that we further develop the 98% of the revenue, which is the global revenue,” he said.

Rorsted said Adidas has thousands of employees in Russia and it’s continuing to pay them. “But it’s also important that we look upon it in a greater context. We need to protect our employees and mitigate the situation through donations and emergency help to the entire region, and particularly our employees in Ukraine,” he said.

Sophie Tremblay

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