Russian food retail turnover growth accelerated 210bp to 5.3% y/y in 4Q18 with the market leader X5 Retail Group's share up to 11.8% for 2018, Rosstat reported on January 28.
Among the prime drivers for the acceleration in turnover was the pickup in inflation, from 2.5% y/y in September to 4.7% y/y in December. Retailers saw an uptick in like-for-like (LFL) tickets, which have been pressured for several quarters, while the recovery in real spending is still uncertain.
Russian consumers are under pressure after Rosstat reported that real incomes were down for the fifth year in a row at the end of December.
The strongest 2018 turnover figures were released by X5: its retail sales were up 17% y/y during the quarter. For 2018, sales gained 18% y/y and the company was able to increase its market share 140bp to 11.8%.
“The segment still presents challenging operating fundamentals but there is sizeable growth potential via consolidation and innovative pillars, i.e. digitalisation and e-commerce,” Maria Kolbina of VTB Capital (VTBC) said in a note.