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Monthly Newsletter - December 2012



Shopping experience in Russia

While everyone is busy hunting for Christmas and New Year presents and anticipating the Boxing Day sales, let’s have a quick look at some of retail successes in Russia.

The figures can vary but most advisors agree that Russia is one of the largest consumer markets in the world. The period of stability, a growing middle class and traditional Russian “we’re not rich enough to buy cheap products” helps European brands in particular. The total number of non-food sales in Russia increased by 22% in 2010, reaching $274 billion, according to the recent UKTI’s Doing Business in Russia report.

Russian desire to buy was not fulfilled when other nations in the West came through this. The consumption era is at its height in the East now. That is what we witness.

Russians are amongst the first to buy luxury goods - not to show off, but to indicate their status and success. Repeatedly some would use the Russian saying "We're not wealthy enough to buy cheap goods" meaning the cheaper options are of worse quality, to justify their spenditure. Dozens of thousands of Russian millionaires would be frequently seen in boutique stores in London, Milan, and Moscow and generally retailers would now know how to serve them.

The middle class in Russia is growing steadily and that is it now that attracts the attention of retailers, service providers, airlines etc. It's the right time for those companies to target the Russian market. On 1st September, Debenhams opened their first department store in Moscow with eight more waiting in the pipeline. It is clearly not the first one among international retailers to step on the Russian soil, but it might well be the first one to lead other British companies serving the Russian middle class.

The inspiration can come from the French Decathlon which is now opening one store a week in Russia and doesn't plan to slow down its pace in the near future. In fact, they have recently hired 18 new business development managers.

Or the Spanish Inditex, owning brands like Bershka, Zara et al, which got about $433 billion in 2011 in revenues from their 274 stores across Russia. They came here only in 2006, six years later they increased the number of their stores almost ten-fold.

But there is still plenty of space in the Russian regions for new-comers – just find your niche. You might want to consider joint-ventures with local partners which generally proves to be beneficial to all three parties: customers, foreign and local partners.

The paradigm is now changing, and it is wise now to think of how best serve Russian customers where they live.


The Old New Year

On 14th January Russians have yet another opportunity to celebrate. Start of the year by the Julian Calendar, it is important among Orthodox Christians because 1st of January gets in the middle of a pre-Christmas lent therefore some people might consider not joining in the joy. The Old New Year thus is informally observed.

For others, of course, it will never be as festive as the New Year, yet it is a good occasion to close the New Year festive cycle starting on 1st January, then continued with Orthodox Christmas on 7th January. First ten January days are public holidays in Russia, but some decide to round up and extend it just till the Old New Year.


Russia Local news

  • Russia Local Ltd has become member of the UK Trade & Investment Advisory Network since December 2012.
  • In November and December, Ignaty Dyakov of Russia Local has been invited to take part in a series of talks at the BBC Radio5 Live as well as at the American Internet Radio "Springtime in Moscow", where during an hour long interview he shared his views on doing business in Russia, Russian politics, culture and mentality.


Russian banya opens in London

Arguably part of the Russian culture, the first public Russian Banya (traditional Slavic sauna) opens in Old Street in London. The website is still under construction, but the first parilshiki (banya-goers) have been now served. So if you'd like to try this one yourself, subscribe to their newsletter to be first to learn about their opening date for general public at


Russian course for Beginners

We start a new Russian language course for Complete Beginners on 30th January, 2013. 8 weeks' course, Wednesdays, 7-9pm. A qualified native speaking teacher and only up to five students in a group. Central London location: 7min walk to the Central line tube station and 2min walk to the Northern line. Book your place via email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As usually, we offer a 10% discount for students, over 65s, UCL alumni and staff members as well as for members of the Vegetarian Society.



"The Story Sensation: for learners of the Russian language (and not only for Guadeloupians!") by Ignaty Dyakov is now ready for print and is going to be available on Amazon and in selected London bookstores  in January 2013. It is a short sarcastic story, a detective line, written as an aid to making the Russian language study process a little bit more bearable for adult learners. The story contains approximately 800 words from such topics as clothes, food, politics, office, sports and gym, transport and business that are required for everyday communication. For the textbook page on Facebook - click here



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