November 24, 2017 / 11:11 AM / a year ago

Top Russian shoe retailer prepares for shoppers return in 2018

MOSCOW/GDYNIA, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Russia’s second-largest footwear retailer, Obuv Rossii, said on Friday shoppers were returning to its stores and spending on more expensive shoes, shaking off two years of recession.

Although Obuv Rossii, which translates as “shoes of Russia”, reported a 12 percent fall in its third-quarter net profit, it said this was due to a shift in its tax payment period and it saw positive like-for-like sales in October and November.

Obuv Rossii, which raised $105 million in its market debut in October, plans to increase orders and sales in 2018 on the back of a significant recovery in consumer demand, its founder Anton Titov told Reuters by telephone.

“The market is reviving. The consumer returns,” Titov said, adding that people are more likely to buy more expensive pairs.

The retailer had 3.1 billion roubles in revenue in the third quarter, with like-for-like sales rising 6 percent and continuing to be positive in October and November, he said.

Forecasts by Discovery Research group show the Russian footwear market is recovering and by 2018 it should reach pre-crisis level of 3 pairs of shoes per person, Titov said.

Russia was hit by a recession in 2015 and 2016 after a fall in oil prices and western sanctions over Moscow’s action in Crimea and Ukraine.

Russian officials still project gross domestic product to gain around 2 percent this year, even though retail sales grew less than expected in October. ($1 = 58.4525 roubles) (Reporting by Olga Sichkar in Moscow; Additional reporting and writing by Anna Pruchnicka in Gdynia)

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