EU and US sanctions have had a certain economic impact on Russia, however, the UK Fashion and Textile Association reports that after the first shock and after-shock consequences, the industry is showing signs of revival again. This optimistic outlook set the background for the event entitled Russian fashion markets – growth kicks off again, it was held on 30th March 2017 in London by SCHNEIDER GROUP, export consultants.
Over the last decades, Russians have certainly built up an image of a nation which likes to dress up, sometimes overly so, and the current tendencies are those Russians who can afford expensive quality clothing and footwear will spare no expense. With 142 million consumers, Russia is a good market to tap into.
I found it useful to learn from the seminar that import and export data is exchanged between tax and fiscal authorities more effectively and goods are tracked all the way. The SCHNEIDER GROUP speakers reiterated that doing the customs paperwork properly will mean a smooth process down the line, with the customs authorities checking not only company documents, but also documents for all the related company entities. Most of the clothes are exported into Russia via Eastern EU states (Lithuania accounts for 39.2% and Poland – for 20.4%); Russia is also fighting grey imports. Import regulations for children’s goods, including clothing, footwear, furniture, have been tightened. In addition, Russia is introducing radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging for items of fur and leather clothing. New tills at point of sale will also be introduced from 1st July 2017 whereby receipts will be automatically transmitted online to tax authorities.
The British Footwear Association pointed to an increase in spending on children’s products. Russians are reported to buy the best, comfortable to wear goods for their children, a good example is specialist healthy footwear. Russians still prefer imported footwear which has the hallmark of excellent quality. The Russian market is particularly lucrative as footwear sales are determined by weather patterns and Russia’s climate is characterised by extremes: having appropriate footwear for all four seasons is a bare necessity.
The last presentation of the day was by Eurovet, a French lingerie specialist. Some slides and statements brought a few smiles, but one of the key facts for lingerie companies who would like to establish trade links with Russia is luxury and premium lingerie accounts for an impressive 10-15% market share.
It was very useful for me to attend the seminar considering that I have seen days when fashions trade between the UK and Russia was all the vogue. Years ago I happened to interpret at distributor training sessions for Mosaic Fashions and during preparations for Denis Simachev’s fashion show in London.
SCHNEIDER GROUP’s report from the event with links to the presentations can be found on the company website.
Yelena McCafferty, Director of Talk Russian Ltd. This article was written on 6th April 2017.