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12 Jan, 2008 12:05

Shop till you drop: Moscow still top for retailers

Moscow is the world’s most attractive place for global retailers looking to expand their businesses. That’s according to a survey by commercial real estate agents Cushman & Wakefield. But some experts believe that Russia may have passed its peak as an eme

The survey, which polled companies from 23 European countries, names Russia as the land of opportunities for global retailers. And Moscow is identified  as the most enticing city worldwide. Cushman & Wakefield’s Denis Sokolov says almost a decade of economic growth has pushed Russia up to top spot.

“Moscow is the biggest market in Russia. Its population is growing very fast, as well as people’s income. So the retail turnover is also increasing”, Sokolov said.

St. Petersburg is the second most desirable place for retailers. Russia's northern capital is ahead of Prague, Bratislava and Ljubljana, all of which are in the top five.

Managing Director of A.T. Kearney, Ruslan Korzh, says Russia hit its peak of attractiveness three years ago.

“Market saturation and growth of modern retail is evolving. Therefore we have much more players than we used to have four or five years ago. As competition is increasing the attractiveness is going down,” Korzh said.

While growing consumer incomes and a maturing banking system raise Russia’s appeal, international retailers have justifiable reservations about the country.

Korzh says one of them is a good choice of good quality and reasonably-priced locations.

“Second, which is even more important, is the overall infrastructure and logistics – sometimes it’s a nightmare we see, especially in the regions,” he said.

On a country basis, Russia shares its top spot with the United Arab Emirates, where many global retailers plan to open outlets within five years.