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Brands relocate in Japan amid nuclear fallout fears

Swedish young fashion retailer H&M and French luxury group PPR have temporarily relocated from their offices in Tokyo as the threat of radioactive fallout looks increasingly likely.

An earthquake and tsunami hit Japan a week ago damaging the Fukushima nuclear power plant which has suffered several explosions and triggered the threat of a nuclear meltdown. So far 6,405 people have been confirmed dead and about 10,200 are listed as missing.

Fashion brands and retailers have taken action to protect the safety of their employees. Chanel has handed out iodine tablets to staff, which are thought to help protect the body from radiation. PPR, which owns brands such as Puma and Stella McCartney, has evacuated about 44 employees and their families to the safer region of Osaka at a temporary headquarters.

Chanel said: “Staff either stay home and follow instructions to remain indoors or temporarily leave the area. For those who prefer to leave the affected regions, Chanel is providing financial and logistical assistance. For staff who prefer to stay, the company has distributed iodine tablets and continues to deliver them for family members.”

In the Kanto region around Tokyo, H&M put the shutters down on all its stores and said it would relocate all 800 employees and their families. Due to damage, potential blackouts and unreliable public transport 17 of casualwear giant Gap’s 130 stores in Japan were closed on Thursday.

Luxury brand Loewe has closed 15 of its 40 stores in Japan and chief executive Lisa Montague said four of the stores were badly affected.

After three days of decline yesterday the global stock markets stabilised. The Nikkei 225 fell just 1.4% and the FTSE 100 rose 1.8%.

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