Russian Clothing Brands Plug Gap Left by Western Rivals 

A seamstress works on a piece of Russian brand "Closer" at a sewing workshop in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2023. (Reuters)
A seamstress works on a piece of Russian brand "Closer" at a sewing workshop in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2023. (Reuters)
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Russian Clothing Brands Plug Gap Left by Western Rivals 

A seamstress works on a piece of Russian brand "Closer" at a sewing workshop in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2023. (Reuters)
A seamstress works on a piece of Russian brand "Closer" at a sewing workshop in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2023. (Reuters)

Russian designers and brands are helping the retail sector gradually recover from a turbulent 15 months of store closures and slumping demand, with new labels plugging the gap left by foreign rivals and shoppers tentatively returning.

Hundreds of foreign retailers shut up shop in response to Russia dispatching troops to Ukraine in February 2022, leaving some of Moscow's most prestigious streets with boarded up stores and the industry reeling from a roughly $2.5 billion hit.

Spain's Inditex flagship Zara store in central Moscow, which sat idle for over a year, last month reopened under new management and a new brand, MAAG, leaving customers largely satisfied.

"It looks like nothing has changed since you-know-who was here," Moscow resident Anton told Reuters outside the store.

Fellow Muscovite Antonina said: "I did not find any differences apart from the variety of choice. There's less of everything at the moment."

Money talking

Retail sales, a key gauge of consumer demand, slumped in 2022, hit by soaring inflation and falling wages, while the Western exodus contributed to heavy industry losses, said Oleg Klimov, the president of Russia's Council of Shopping Centers, with logistics and payment concerns taking months to resolve.

"People in general just did not understand what was going on," he told Reuters. "They did not want to spend money. The losses were about 200 billion roubles ($2.47 billion).

"But it is recovering now," he added. "Money always eventually changes hands."

Russians' access to Western products, such as McDonald's burgers and Levi's jeans - symbols of the kind of freedom capitalism could offer as the Soviet Union collapsed - is waning.

Gloria Jeans, once a re-seller of Levi's jeans, has taken over Swedish retailer H&M's central Moscow store.

And the West's shunning of Russia, along with export bans and punitive sanctions, complicates trading routes.

"The biggest problem is international transactions," said Ksenia Zhdanova, who runs her own KSEW clothing brand and is commercial director for online Russian designer wear marketplace Richmill.

"Our industry is extremely dependent on import."

Another problem is the shortage of staff, Zhdanova said, citing a lack of seamstresses and professionals in textiles that she believed only government-led initiatives could resolve.

Russians have developed solutions with small-scale imports and online sellers helping to keep foreign brands alive, but some things remain difficult to find.

Shopper Irina Nikulina said she did not miss foreign brands too much, except when needing something simple, like a reasonably priced white t-shirt.

Tatiana Vakhonina said she missed Swedish furniture giant IKEA and Zara the most.

"We go to Kazakhstan for shopping now," she said. "But some things cannot you buy at all anymore."



Hugo Boss Cuts Full Year Sales Guidance over Weaker Demand in China, UK

FILE PHOTO: Mens clothing are on display at the Boss store in London, Britain, May 30, 2024. REUTERS/Chris J. Ratcliffe/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Mens clothing are on display at the Boss store in London, Britain, May 30, 2024. REUTERS/Chris J. Ratcliffe/File Photo
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Hugo Boss Cuts Full Year Sales Guidance over Weaker Demand in China, UK

FILE PHOTO: Mens clothing are on display at the Boss store in London, Britain, May 30, 2024. REUTERS/Chris J. Ratcliffe/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Mens clothing are on display at the Boss store in London, Britain, May 30, 2024. REUTERS/Chris J. Ratcliffe/File Photo

German fashion house Hugo Boss on Monday cut its sales guidance for the year to a range of between 4.20 billion euros ($4.58 billion) to 4.35 billion euros over weakening global consumer demand especially in markets like China and the UK.
The company earlier expected sales for the year at around 4.30 billion to 4.45 billion euros.
Hugo Boss said that it expects operating profit (EBIT) to be around 350 million euros to 430 million euros, down from its previously communicated guidance of around 430 million euros to 475 million euros.
This is the second time this year that Hugo Boss has cut its sales guidance.
The company had previously also flagged in its first quarter results weaker demand in China and concerns about the US consumer sentiment ahead of presidential elections, causing shares to slump to their lowest since 2022.
The German fashion house also said that its preliminary second-quarter sales declined by 1% to 1.02 billion euros. Its operating profit (EBIT) in the period amounted to 70 million euros on a preliminary basis.
The premium apparel brand has been on an expansion mission, and has been increasing marketing spend and opening 102 new points of sale in 2023, but its shares have fallen this year as it warned of slower sales growth.
World's biggest watchmaker Swatch reported a steep drop in first half sales and earnings earlier on Monday as demand for luxury goods in China remained weak, Burberry also issued a profit warning and scrapped its dividend payment for the year as well.