However, even this double-figure increase is still low in comparison with the period 2004-2008 and PMR analyses show that in the short-time perspective, the market is unlikely to reach the pace demonstrated before the crisis.
According to the latest PMR report,“Retail in Ukraine 2012. Market analysis and development forecasts up to 2013”, in 2010 the Ukrainian retail trade market increased in value to UAH 541.5bn ($68.1bn), which gives a year-on-year growth of 21.9%. In contrast to the earlier contraction, the increase is an indication of recovery. After local currency instability over 2008-2009, in 2010 the exchange rate was relatively stable. However, overall Ukrainian economy was unbalanced, with a big budget deficit and high government dept which continued to increase over 2010. This economic and political instability along with bureaucratic barriers are the factors that influence the most Ukrainian retail trade.
Nevertheless, Ukrainian retail is a comparatively young market. For a long time, Ukraine has kept aloof the modern international retail sector. The market has been developed mostly by domestic companies. That means large capacity of the market, which along with its limited saturation, results in good perspectives for investors.
According to PMR estimates, the retail market expanded by 22.5% in 2011, increasing in value to UAH 663.3bn ($83.1bn). In the next two years, the growth rate will be lower because of the sluggish global economy, the saturation of some local markets and also the end of major investments associated with Euro 2012.
Ukraine is not an easy market for new players. Domestic companies are present in every retail sector, they are experienced in dealing with local administration and are aware of Ukrainian consumers’ needs. On the other hand, the position of foreign retailers planning to enter Ukraine is not weak.
Among foreign companies, grocery concerns have the most widespread presence, with the Metro Group and Auchan among the top five food retailers in Ukraine. Another well-known player in the food industry is the REWE Group, which runs the Billa stores, although its presence is less visible. On the grocery market, the foreign companies are represented by a handful of retail chains: Metro Cash & Carry, Real, Auchan, Billa, Perekrestok and SPAR. With the exception of Perekrestok, all of these retailers have developed their presence in Ukraine from scratch. Perekrestok entered the Ukrainian market in 2005 by means of the acquisition of four stores in Kiev from a SPAR franchisee.
Other grocery retailers have considered Ukraine to be a promising terrain for business development, but none have met with success. Pyaterochka, a leading Russian discounter, entered Ukraine in 2004 and decided to leave this market in 2007. Paterson, another Russian retailer, opened its first store in Ukraine at the beginning of 2005 but left the market in 2008.
In Ukraine foreign non-food retailers focus mainly on the clothing and footwear market. The largest international fashion operators include the Inditex Group, the Empik Media & Fashion Group and Sela. In recent years, foreign retail chains have become more prominent on the DIY market. In 2010, Praktiker opened its first unit in Kiev, which was also its fourth in Ukraine overall. OBI has been in Ukraine since 2008 and has only three operational retail units in the country. At the end of last year, Leroy Merlin also entered the market. There are international retailers and portfolio investors present in the cosmetics and toiletries market subgroup: the A.S. Watson Group (the Watsons beauty care and cosmetic chain), SigmaBleyzer (the Kosmo cosmetic chain) and Alcor Holding (the Brocard premium class perfumery chain). In addition, direct sales of cosmetic products in Ukraine are wholly controlled by international vendors, led by Avon and Oriflame. The consumer electronics market remains untapped by foreign players, opening the way for external investments. However, PMR expects that in the near future more international retailers are to appear mainly on the clothing and footwear retail market.
This press release is based on information contained in the latest PMR report entitled “Retail in Ukraine 2012. Market analysis and development forecasts up to 2013”.