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Live news updates: Britain tells NATO foreign ministers ‘age of cooperation’ with Russia is over

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Levi Strauss doesn’t expect to reopen in Russia this year, its chief executive said on Wednesday, a month after the California jeans maker Operation discontinued there “temporarily” in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The way things are going now, I’m not optimistic that we’ll be back in full business anytime soon,” Chip Bergh told the Financial Times, adding that their forecasts now assume no further revenue in 2022 from a market that contributed about 2 percent of sales last year.

Levi’s still pays more than 800 workers in Russia and has kept a few outlet stores open “to flush inventory,” he said, but “every day you open the newspaper the situation looks worse.”

Conditions for Western companies in Russia are “really difficult,” Bergh said, noting that authorities have seized powers that could allow them to nationalize operations of companies that stop supplying Russian customers.

“They could take our trademark literally,” he warned, echoing a concern other executives have privately expressed.

A Boston Consulting Group survey released this week found that two-thirds of investors believed it would be at least two years before Western companies were ready to do business in Russia again, including 39 percent who said it would be five would take years or more.

However, few CEOs have publicly predicted how long they could be locked out of the Russian market.

Despite the question hanging over Russia, Levi’s reiterated its full-year guidance after posting first-quarter sales and earnings per share that beat consensus estimates.

Read more about Levi’s outlook on Russia here

https://www.ft.com/content/b0ed6e82-d189-45dd-9d1a-19b8174bc5ef Live news updates: Britain tells NATO foreign ministers ‘age of cooperation’ with Russia is over

Adam Bradshaw

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