Russia’s luxury market boosted by the alignment of prices and Chinese shoppers

In an interview to FashionNetwork.Com, Alla Verber, Vice-President of Mercury and Fashion Director at TsUM said Russian luxury consumers prefer brands such as Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Céline, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Chloé and Stella McCartney. ”If we’re talking a more classic style, then it’s Valentino. We sell a lot of Loro Piana, because cashmere is very suitable to the climactic conditions in Russia. We’re also seeing positive performances by Vetements, Calvin Klein and Balmain. As for style, Russian women want to be always beautiful. They may not wear 6-inch heels for breakfast, but they are well decked out from the morning.”

‘There came a time when a change was needed, because selling at much higher prices than the rest of Europe had become difficult. People had started to economize We went and talked to each of our partners, explaining to them why, here in Moscow, it was not appropriate to sell the same products at a 30% mark-up. We made sure that all accessories were sold at the same prices found in Milan, Paris or London. Initially, margins were lower, but revenue leaped and, crucially, we were able to attract many new customers. Now, it is no longer advantageous [for Muscovites] to go shopping elsewhere in Europe, because here they find the same prices, range and service.”

Speaking about the Chinese consumers she said: ”We are part of the ‘China Friendly’ programme: we label our products in Chinese too, and our sales team speaks Chinese. We also accept the China Union Pay payment system, and we advertised heavily in the country. In the last few seasons, the Chinese clientèle grew by 10% at TsUM and by 20% at DLT in St Petersburg.  Above all, a tax-free shopping system will be introduced in Russia, and our stores are part of the pilot project. Over the last seasons, the percentage of Chinese consumer it’s been 10% at TSuM and 20% at DLT in Saint Petersburg. It’s our largest foreign consumer group – they are 8% of our customers worldwide.”

TSUM Department store Moscow