Mixed retailers continued to be a marginal channel in retailing in Russia in 2016. The channel accounted for only a 1% share of overall value sales in store-based retailing in this year. Mixed retailers consists only of department stores and variety stores, whilst the two remaining channels, mass merchandisers and warehouse clubs, were not present in Russia at the end of review period.
Best Price, operating the chain of variety stores Fix Price, strengthened its leading position in mixed retailers in 2016. It also saw the best performance, experiencing the highest growth in value share within mixed retailers in Russia. The value share of the company increased from 49% in 2015 to 53% in 2016, whilst its share of the number of outlets decreased from 87% in 2015 to 83% in 2016. Best Price was the first company to appear in variety stores in Russia, and is still the only significant player in the channel. However, the success of the company attracted many other investors to the channel, even though they were not able to offer strong competition to the leader.
Despite the Russian economy experiencing the first signs of recovery, the process is expected to be very slow and long term. The consequences of the economic crisis will continue to affect both consumers and players over the whole forecast period. Being extremely price-sensitive, Russians are expected to continue looking for the best choices and high discounts, switching to the low price segment and reducing the number of additional product purchases. This, on the one hand will increase the sales of variety stores, which are primarily operated by fixed price chains of stores, which offer wide ranges of products at low prices. However, department stores will face significant challenges, and are more likely to improve their business models in line with the current market environment, making their products more affordable and attractive. In this way, they might develop various strategies targeting international tourists, who enjoy combining travelling with shopping. This, however, is a long term trend, which will be decisive over the whole forecast period.
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