• This content was produced in Russia, where the law limits coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.

MOSCOW, June 27 (Reuters) – Empty shelves and prices cut by up to 70% greeted shoppers who visited Decathlon stores in Russia over the weekend before the French sports equipment retailer closed its stores on Monday , hampered by supply constraints.

Dozens of Western brands have left Russia following a backlash against its military incursion into Ukraine, with McDonald’s, IKEA and Renault among the most prominent. Others have reported difficulties with logistics and supply chains amid Western economic and financial sanctions.

One buyer, Lyubov, said Decathlon’s departure was “sad” but insisted Russian consumers would get through it.

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“We are flexible people, we will adapt,” she said.

Another customer, Ivan, said: “It’s a real shame that it’s closed. As a climber, I will miss Decathlon, but what can you do? In principle, there are other things we can buy, but still, we will miss Decathlon.” .”

Part of a retail empire owned by the Mulliez family, Decathlon imported most of the products sold in its 60 Russian stores. It announced in March that it was suspending its operations because “the supply conditions are no longer met to continue… the activity in Russia”.

Stores closed in waves and as of Monday Russian consumers could no longer shop in-store or online, the company’s local website said, although some branches remained open for returns.

The company’s repeated use of the word “temporary” suggests it could try to reopen stores when possible. On an FAQ page, it promised to save accrued loyalty points and let customers know when they could be used.

Decathlon declined to comment further on Monday.

The Mulliez family is also behind the DIY brand Leroy Merlin and the food brand Auchan, both of which remain open in Russia.

In March, Decathlon announced that it would continue to support its 2,500 Russian employees, some of whom have been involved with the company since 2006.

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Reuters reporting, editing by William Maclean

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