The Watcom shopping index ended 2016 on a strong note with footfall in Moscow’s leading shopping malls increasing to just below the 2015 levels.
The Moscow-based Watcom index is the most immediate and direct measure of retail activity in Russia as it measures the number of shoppers and their spend in real time using 3D camera technology.
The results of 2016 even exceeded the shopping index in 2014 a few times during the year but over all ended below the level seen at the end of 2015 and 2014. Having said that among the individual retailers, some of the leaders beat their previous year records fro turnover during the Christmas sales, Watcom reports. And the footfall on the last working day on December 30, 2016 exceeded the last working day in 2015 by 25%.
Month-on-month the shopping index during December 2016 in Moscow decreased by 4%, compared to December of the previous year, as Russia has not yet emerged from its recession. GDP growth for the year was 0.8% down y/y according to preliminary estimates and retail turnover for the country was down 3.5% y/y in December, which was still a lot better than the -15.3% collapse seen in the same month a year previously. A full recovery of retail sales is being held back but the slow growth of real incomes and especially real disposable incomes, which are still negative.
But in big shopping centres in the capital, with a focus on entertainment, growth in the shopping index was up. Thus, footfall in Vegas Crocus City, one of Moscow’s very largest malls, the index increased by 74% on December 30, 2016, compared with December 31 in 2015. According to Olga Antonova, head of the mall’s tenant department, the launch of the Oceanarium on December 5 contributed to the footfall increase. Due to extra activities like shows and free classes for kids in Afimall, another big mall in the middle of Moscow City, traffic in the first days of January exceeded that of the previous year by 18%.
Watcom Group President Roman Skorokhodov said: “We have overcome the crisis. During 2016 the Shopping Index performed rather well. This is the result of intensive creative activity of managing companies in shopping centres that have chosen the right focus in attracting potential purchasers – entertainment and catering to impulse shopping which has bolstered clients’ loyalty.”