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The distribution network in Russia

Evolution of the Sector

Russia is Europe’s third largest consumer market by turnover, behind only Germany and France and the domestic food processing industry and developing food retail sector contribute significantly to Russia’s economy.

The Russian food and grocery retail market had total revenues of USD 252.4 billion in 2020, growing by 6.6% between 2016 and 2020. The value of the Russian food and groceries market grew by 8.4% in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, as consumers increased precautionary buying (MarketLine). Grocery retailers are expected to stagnate due to a declining population, rising prices, stagnating purchasing power and a high level of maturity. Convenience stores, discounters and food and drink e-commerce will continue to take share from hypermarkets, due to a change in shopping behaviour (Euromonitor). In addition to the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine exposed the retail sector to many difficuties including the destruction of logistics chains, the need to quickly find new suppliers, inflationary pressures and the decline in effective demand, but the food segment remains resilient (AKTOR).

According to the latest figures from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, in 2019, the share of top ten largest retailers accounted for 38% of the food market. Nevertheless, there is strong competition as costs are high and profit margins are low. Russian consumers are increasingly buying food and drinks via the internet, especially in big cities, a trend that was accelerated by the pandemic. In 2021, the sector reached 329 billion RUB in turnover (Statista).

Well-organized distribution channels have developed significantly over the last few years, particularly in the major population centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and have started to expand to the regions. In the consumer sector, there are large-scale retail stores in Moscow that are able to buy in bulk. Shopping malls and big box stores are common sights in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and many other Russian cities. By employing the domestic distribution organizations, the task of bringing goods to market in Russia has been greatly eased.

The Russian market can be segmented as follows :

  • The discount channel is currently the fastest growing modern retail channel in Russia. The Russian market lacks pure discounters such as German Lidl or Aldi, and all discounter chains present in the market could be referred to as soft discounters. The major players in the discounter segment include local operators e.g. the X5 Retail Group (Pyaterochka), Magnit and Dixy Group (Dixy retail chain).
  • Hypermarkets are the second most significant modern grocery channel. There are three foreign chains among the top 10 players. The leader of the segment is France-based Auchan. The hypermarkets are located on the outskirts of large cities, or as the anchor store of a large urban shopping mall.
  • The supermarkets segment accounts for the smallest share among the top three large format channels and the segment's growth prospects are currently also the worst among the top three large area formats. This is the segment with the largest number of local and regional chains. The supermarket segment is dominated by domestic operators but there are several successful foreign companies present on the market as well. They include Spar (the Netherlands), the second-ranked chain in the segment (by sales), as well as Auchan Atak (France), and Billa (Germany). The leader of the segment is local X5 Group's Perekrestok chain.
  • Cash and carry stores are the fourth-largest format of organized retail in Russia, exceeding only the convenience store segment. It is represented by all types of players, including large foreign chains (Germany-based Metro and Selgros) and national chains (St. Petersburg-based Lenta), as well as regional operators (Linia in the Central Federal District; Lakmin in Moscow and Tula Provinces), and local operators (Cash).
  • The convenience channel is the smallest modern retail channel in Russia. All major players in the segment are Russia-based. In the long term, this segment carries the highest growth potential, due to its low level of development; however, convenience shopping has not gained popularity among Russian consumers yet. On the other hand, the current crisis is expected to increase the popularity of convenience stores.
  • An essential part of distribution is still carried out by informal means, such as stalls and markets. 20% of sales are represented by open-air markets and more than half by informal stalls.
Market share
In 2019 (latest data available) the top grocery federal retailers by sales turnover are:

•    X5 Retail Group : $21.25 billion in revenues (12.7% food market share in 2021)
•    Magnit (9.5% food market shares in 2021)
•    Mercury Retail (5.9% food market shares in 2021)
•    Tander: $18.78 billion in revenues
•    Auchan: $ 6.41 billion in revenues
•    Lenta: $6.2 billion in revenues
•    Dixy: $4.65 billion in revenues
•    Metro Cash & Carry: $ 3.60 billion in revenues
•    O’KEY: $ 2.87 billion in revenues

Retail Sector Organisations
Sector-based alert (in Russian)
Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Latest Update: July 2024