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TOKYO – Japanese fast fashion brand Uniqlo has announced it will keep its 49 Russian stores open. The decision makes the business an outlier in the fashion space, with most of the world’s leading fashion retailers having suspended operations in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. H&M, Inditex, M&S, Nike and many others have now closed their Russian stores and halted online sales in Russia as the global community ramps up sanctions on the country.

However, Tadashi Yanai, president of Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing, said the conflict should not deprive people in Russia of clothing, claiming clothes are a basic human need.

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