The Russian replacement for Lego stores: World of Cubes

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

MOSCOW, Sept 30 (Reuters) – The colorful toys piling up on Russian store shelves may look familiar. But the bright red and yellow Lego store logos are gone, replaced by Mir Kubikov, or World of Cubes.

Russian retail group IRG has unveiled plans for 65 new stores in 20 cities, to replace those it previously ran for Danish toymaker Lego, which left the country following the invasion of Ukraine by the Kremlin.

It is not the first company to play with new names since a series of well-known Western brands closed their Russian operations because of the conflict.

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Former McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) restaurants reopened as Vkusno & tochkaor ‘Tasty and that’s it’, in June, while the new owners of Starbucks Corp cafes (SBUX.O) opted for Stars Coffee.

Lego said in July that it had terminated his contract with its franchisee IRG who owned and operated 81 stores in its name.

IRG (Inventive Retail Group) announced on Thursday that its new stores will sell official Lego bricks “purchased through parallel imports and other suppliers” alongside other toys.

“The new channel will appear in place of certified Lego stores,” IRG said in a statement. “Lego will remain on the list of brands.”

Lego said it is no longer affiliated with IRG, has not shipped products to Russia since March 2022, and does not support or facilitate sales of Lego products in Russia.

“We have taken steps to increase the visibility and control of any potential resale activity by our existing customers outside of Russia, including adding additional clauses to retailer contracts,” Lego said in a statement Friday.

Western brands have left en masse since Russia sent troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what Moscow calls its “special military operation.” Many companies have voiced their opposition to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and others have pointed to severe supply chain disruptions.

World of Cubes stores have already started opening and the full chain will be operational by the end of October, IRG said.

Separately, the Kommersant daily reported on Friday that Dmitry Azarov, previously the majority owner of British cosmetics retailer Lush’s Russian stores, had started another company, “List,” and started applying for brands under the “Relish” brand for cosmetics. products such as cosmetics, soaps and lotions.

Lush said he was aware and wished Azarov good luck in his new venture.

“Lush is not involved,” a spokesperson said.

Azarov did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Reporting by Alexander Marrow; additional reporting by Richa Naidu in London; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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