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France-based Auchan said in its Retail division, revenue had fallen by 3.3% at current exchange rates (0.5% at constant exchange rates) to €50.3bn. It said on a like-for-like basis revenue fell by 2.4%. Revenue dropped in every region in which Auchan operates.

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Germany-based Metro has reported its first quarter results saying total sales fell by 0.6% to €8.0bn. Metro said in local currency terms sales had risen by 2.1%, with the fall in sales ‘due to the negative development of the Russian and Turkish currency’. However, the company was able to report that like-for-like sales had risen by 2.3% during the period, with it noting this was ‘mainly driven by Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) and Asia’.

Challenges in Germany and Russia overshadow results

Metro said in its home market total sales fell by 1.3%, which was affected by the closure of a store, while like-for-like sales contracted by 0.2%. In Western Europe (excluding Germany) Metro noted that total sales increased by 1.2%, while like-for-like sales rose by 1.0%, aided by a ‘ strong development in France, Italy and Spain’.

In Eastern Europe (excluding Russia) Metro was able to report that total sales, in local currency terms, grew by 6.3%, while like-for-like sales rose by 6.4%. The company said that in the region ‘almost all countries… contributed to this [result]’.

Metro said in the key country of Russia, total sales declined by 2.8%, in local currency terms, while like-for-like sales decreased by 2.4%. In volume terms, though, Metro said it had enjoyed an increase in sales of 3%. Despite the contractions, Metro said the results were positive and underlined how they had ‘benefited from an attractive pricing model as well as the expansion of the franchise format Fasol’.

In Asia, total sales, in local currency terms, rose by 6.9%, while like-for-like sales rose 5.9%. As part of the results announcement, Metro confirmed it was considering strategic options for its operations in China. It has been previously suggested that it could sell a majority stake in the business to a local company.

Real disposal continues against a weakening backdrop

Metro said its Real hypermarket business saw a slight decrease in like-for-like sales, by 0.6%, while total sales fell by 1.7%, affected by two temporary store closures. It also reported that its online business had shown ‘a dynamic development’, with its gross merchandise value rising by 65% to €171m.

Metro said it expected to complete the disposal of Real as a whole, standalone business within the next two to four months. Metro’s chief executive, Olaf Koch, said the disposal process was being challenged by competition regulations, but non-binding offers were expected soon, with a binding offer to come later.

Russia’s retail market in 2018 faced stagnant household incomes and food price inflation. This led shoppers to become more economical with their spending. As a result, retailers had to compete more for their share of spend in groceries, which has led to a slowing in real sales growth rates.

We look at the 2018 full year results and highlight how the leading Russian retailers managed in the face of the challenging macroeconomic conditions.

Source: IGD Research, YOY: year-on-year, LFL: like-for-like

Macroeconomic conditions main reason for X5’s slowdown

X5 continues to be one of the fastest growing networks in sales and store numbers, amongst Russia’s leading grocery retailers. However, its like-for-like growth slowed in 2018, which it put down to the lack of real growth in shoppers’ incomes, as they faced rising food price inflation toward the end of 2018. That said it maintained double-digit year-on-year sales growth as it opened more than 2,300 stores during the year.

Magnit’s transformation strategy shows some fruition in growth

The number two Russian retailer showed positive Q4 results, making it the first quarter in two years that it reported improving like-for-like sales. That also translated into improved full year results for 2018, which Olga Naumova, Magnit CEO, attributed to the investment in a new customer value proposition (CVP). As part of the strategy the retailer focused on category management, improved on-shelf availability and better store locations. Naumova stated that all new stores will be opened under the new CVP and will include improved layouts.

Lenta’s focus on ranging and marketing improves like-for-like growth

Lenta was the only leading retailer to report a better set of like-for-like sales in 2018 versus the previous year. It attributes this to the continued focus on the shopper, which has helped it grow average basket spend. The retailer said it continually revised its range to offer more relevant products and raise shopper awareness through effective and targeted marketing. This was done by tailoring its fresh assortment to suit regional demands, building supplier relationships to help it to extend and enhance its range, and actively engage with shoppers via its loyalty programme and in-store marketing.

Okey reports sales decline for first time in over 15 years

It reported a decline in sales, which at a total sales line was due to the disposal of its St Petersburg supermarkets to X5. This was accentuated by a 3.4% year-on-year sales drop at its hypermarket format. In 2019 it plans to focus on its discount format DA! and its new Okey compact hypermarket.

Dixy officially ceased to be a public company

The retailer had previously received permission, in December 2018, from the central bank to not disclose financial information. In 2019 it will focus on preparing for its merger with Bristol and Red & White, and a new strategy and structure for the new combined company.

Auchan Russia change in management

Following Auchan Russia’s second year of sales decline in 2018, Francois Remy, Auchan Russia CEO, took the executive decision to build a new team structure at the directorial level. Remy stated this was required “in order to improve efficiency”. He also stated that 2019 "will mark the re-launch of Auchan Retail Russia".

Subscribers can read the latest news about the Russian grocery retail market.

Russia’s top two retailers, X5 and Magnit, have added small in-store concessions of Post Bank in several stores as part of pilot projects being run by them both. These are in partnership with Russia Post, the parent of the banking service. Capitalising on the traffic generated by post offices and banking services will help both in their attempts to halt their declining or marginally growing like-for-like sales.

Magnit started with its own concession in post offices…

The retailer partnered with Russia Post in 2018 to open small Magnit concessions inside post offices. In June 2018 there were 12 stores and one mobile unit. The strategic move will benefit Magnit by traffic generated by the post office. While Russia Post benefits from the cost efficiencies in reduced overhead and distribution costs by sharing services and facilities with the retailer.

…footfall generated observed in store visit…

In our visit to the Arbat Street and Bumanskaya Street stores in November 2018 we observed the significant footfall attracted by the post office service.

Source: IGD Research

…and now Magnit supermarkets will introduce Post Bank concessions

In December 2018 Magnit launched mini-branches inside 10 supermarkets. The retailer will be using the post office’s own logistics to save transport costs for itself and its partner. The pilot of the in-store concessions will continue until the second quarter of 2019 when the decision of whether to scale it up will take place.

Source: IGD Research

X5’s Pyaterochka responds with own Post Bank concession

Three Pyaterochka stores added small in-store concessions, and it plans to open 50 of these in 2019. They will be available in cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants and in stores that are a considerable distance from post office branches. Testing will take about six months before the retailer decides on whether to scale up the project.

In-store concessions likely to be a common feature in Russia

X5’s Pyaterochka has been struggling to improve on its stagnant like-for-like results, while Magnit continues to report a decline in these terms. The two retailers are looking to revive their like-for-like performance via several means, the use of in-store concessions to boost traffic will be one. We expect these tests to show a successful return on investment, and for the concept to be rolled out more widely.

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Presentations

25/02/2019
This in-depth guide to Russia explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.
31/01/2019
Central and Eastern Europe is a region that illustrates great growth potential for both retailers and suppliers. In this report we illustrate key themes that help drive evolve the retail business model to widen their shopper base and draw more traffic to their stores. For example, the growing relevancy of private label and retailers challenging the foodservice sector.
11/01/2019
Europe is often overlooked and dismissed as a low, slow growth region. However, our in-depth look at key countries, such as Russia, Germany, and the UK, and their expansion opportunities shows how the region is set to enjoy good growth to 2023. For nimble retailers and suppliers Europe should remain a focus for profitable growth.
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Key presentation

This in-depth guide to Russia explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Retail Analysis the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

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We've grouped all the latest Central & Eastern European retail news, store visits, retailer profiles and downloadable presentations together in one place.