Russia's Watcom Shopping Index continues recovery, DIY segment back to pre-crisis

Russia's Watcom Shopping Index continues recovery, DIY segment back to pre-crisis
Shoppers at Moscow's Metropolis mall.
By bne IntelliNews July 20, 2020

Russia's Watcom Shopping Index showing foot traffic per 1,000 square metres of trading space is recovering faster than expected, with Moscow malls reporting 75-80% of the traffic compared to last year on the 27th week of 2020 from June 29 to July 5.

As reported by bne IntelliNews, after outperforming in the first two months of 2020, the index collapsed during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. This brought foot traffic in the major malls in Moscow and St Petersburg down to 70%-80% below their levels a year earlier.

In the meantime, some segments have completely recovered from the COVID-19 shock, with DIY household appliances fully recovering traffic year on year on the reporting week, according to Watcom. Fashion retailers have recovered 80% of their traffic.

Watcom's Roman Skorohodov told Kommersant daily that the fast bounce-back of the DIY segment is due to the high demand for home and summer house improvements after the lockdown. 

He notes that overall, the analysts expected only a 50% recovery of the traffic in malls, but suggested waiting and seeing how the retail dynamics develop after the wave of deferred demand is over.

Property analysts surveyed by Kommersant note that Moscow mall traffic dynamics are in line with Eastern European trends, where the traffic recovered to 50-70% of last year’s level right after lifting the lockdowns and jumped to 80-90% after one month. 

They believe that as lockdown restrictions are eased, normal office schedules and entertainment patterns will resume, which will shift demand from DIY to fashion, apparel and lifestyle shopping.