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3 Jun, 2023 10:59

Russian clothing brands filling gaps left by Western rivals – Reuters

The share of foreign apparel firms has dropped significantly in the country’s shopping malls
Russian clothing brands filling gaps left by Western rivals – Reuters

Russian designers and brands have been actively replacing Western companies that pulled out of the country due to sanctions, Reuters has reported.

Spaces in the country’s largest shopping centers have been quickly occupied by Russian retailers, both long established and those that have bought out the businesses of departing companies.

The news agency quoted the president of Russia’s Council of Shopping Centers, Oleg Klimov, as saying that retail sales in the country had nosedived last year. He cited the Western exodus as contributing to heavy industry losses, while logistics and payment issues took months to resolve.

“People in general just did not understand what was going on. They did not want to spend money,” Klimov told Reuters, noting that losses amounted to about 200 billion rubles ($2.47 billion).

“But it is recovering now,” he stated. “Money always eventually changes hands.” 

After the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, over 1,000 Western firms quit the Russian market under the pressure of sanctions, according to Yale University analysts. As a result, Russia was forced to reorient to non-Western partners.

New brands from Türkiye, China, India, and other ‘friendly’ nations have boosted their presence in Russia. According to Nikoliers consultancy estimates, more than 50 such companies have announced plans to launch operations in Russia since the beginning of 2022. Analysts noted that 64% of those brands are Turkish.

Meanwhile, stores of the Spanish clothing conglomerate Inditex recently began to reopen in Moscow under new management and new brands. Inditex closed its stores – including Zara, Bershka, and Massimo Dutti – last year, before deciding to leave the Russian market altogether. The Spanish conglomerate later sold some of its more than 500 Russian stores to a UAE-based buyer.

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