The Russian shoe market is currently one of the best performing in Europe, where other markets have been more severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Lillian Roor, sales director for Russia of the German company Ara Shoes, told the Russian publication Shoes Report.
In the interview, she says that the ”company went through a difficult last year, and 2021 is no easier. The situation is very difficult, since Ara has its own retail chain in Germany and other European countries, which has been closed since December 2020. The shops are now completely closed, but we continue to pay rent for them. On the other hand, Ara has its own production, which continues to work and sew shoes. The situation is saved by the fact that Ara is an old family company with old capital and a good ’fat layer’ in the form of capital and real estate. Otherwise, everything would be much sadder.”
The Russian footwear market, in comparison, is doing better, as the country has already lifted most Covid-related restrictions.
”Russia is now one of the most prosperous markets. Yes, the traffic of shopping centers and shops has dropped, many are still afraid to go to shops and crowded places, yes, retirees mostly stay at home, nevertheless everything works, including retail outlets, and people have the opportunity to earn and spend money,” she explains.
Roor points out that Ara is developing online sales in Russia, but only works with marketplaces and people ”whom we absolutely trust, who, we know for sure, will not lower prices and will not compete with offline sales.”
The company currently works with the online retailers Wildberries and Ozon, and a partnership with Lamoda is scheduled for next season. ”In any case, while these are small quantities and volumes compared to offline retail,” Roor stresses.
She adds that Ara Shoes is ”working very intensively” with TV shopping channels, which along with online shopping, have gained market share thanks to the pandemic.