Lush stores will continue to operate under a longstanding franchise partner with a Russian licensee, despite the ethical retailer halting supplies and online sales in the country.

Lush said it is unable to shut its 48 shops in Russia due to a longstanding legal agreement with its Russian licensee.

The retailer said: “Our Russian and Ukrainian businesses are associate companies, both 65% owned by a Russian citizen who had built the business over 20 years… employing over 600 staff who share the Lush values of environmental protection, animal rights, social justice and peace.”

The business, which has suspended supplies to its Russian stores as well as pausing online sales in the country, said it is working to acquire the shares it does not already own in its Ukrainian business.

By contrast, Japanese retailer Uniqlo’s owner Fast Retailing made the decision to close its 50 Russian stores a few days after its chief executive insisted it had made the right decision to stay open in the country.

Chief executive Tadashi Yanai previously said that despite his opposition to the war “clothing is a necessity of life” and “the people of Russia have the same right to live as we do”.