The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been felt across the world. And as well as the tragic cost to human life, the conflict’s economic impact is already wreaking havoc on Europe.
Although the UK is reportedly not as dependent on Russia for oil and gas as the EU, it looks likely that fuel prices will be pushed even higher. The cost of food could also increase since the Russia-Ukraine plains export around a quarter of the world’s wheat, half of its sunflower products and a significant amount of corn. Russia’s textiles imports to the EU are also significant, so supply chain costs could be impacted in the fashion sector too.
All this comes at a time when shoppers’ wallets are already being squeezed by the rising cost of living. Only one thing is certain: yet more uncertainty lies ahead.
In response to the invasion, a growing list of western fashion brands announced they were suspending trade with Russia. Elsewhere, others offered financial support to the people of Ukraine. Ganni donated over £10k to the Danish Refugee Council, which is currently working on the ground to provide emergency relief and protection. In London, Carnaby Street owner Shaftesbury sold the butterflies from its recent Christmas lights installation to raise funds for refugee charity Choose Love.
Faced with yet more uncertainty, some retailers are choosing to play it safe and reserve bigger budgets for short orders. There are many benefits of buying in this way, but there are also some drawbacks. Turn to pages 40-41 to read more and don’t miss Hari Krishnadasan’s insight in his column on page 68.
This month we also speak to Artichoke owner Sarah Simonds about the changing shape of her business. She reveals why agility is key for survival during turbulent times in an exclusive interview starting on page 63.
Gemma Ward, Editor
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The March 2022 issue of Boutique magazine is out now; read the digital version here.