Among the retailers making their Russian debut in 2015 were Tsumori Chiasto, MCS, Malo, Nelva and Henry Cotton's. Overall, the most significant proportion of these newcomers – some 25 per cent – came from Italy.
Balanced against these arrivals, however, was the departure of number of familiar names from the Russian High Street. In total, 11 retailers exited the market, primarily those in the clothing, footwear and accessories sectors. These closures were headlined by several British retailers, most notably Laura Ashley, New Look, Esprit, OVS and River Island. Another high profile casualty came in the form of Finland's Stockmann Department Stores, which sold its retail operation to Debenhams' Russian franchisee.
Sadly, the more recent news has also been less than reassuring. Finland's Kesko Group has announced it is to sell its Intersport sporting goods and sportswear stores. While the company has been developing the brand as a licensee in Russia for several years now, it has pulled out following falling sales and increased competition from two rival chains – France's Decathlon and Russia's Sportmaster. In a similarly disappointing move, UK-owned Monsoon Accessorize has sold its Russian operation to Podium Market, a domestic fashion and accessories retailer.
Despite these mixed signals, a number of commentators see this as the ideal time for new brands and overseas retailers to enter the Russian market. This could see such operators take advantage of the depressed property market and the competitively priced promotional and logistics support available across the country. In terms of an added incentive, hard-pushed Russian consumers are said to be extremely open to new – but competitively-priced brands. (SH)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India
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