Russians panic over plummeting ruble, rush to stores to spend savings


Retail trade that was considered the driving force of the Russian economy is moving into stagnation, experts with Higher School of Economics say. They evaluated the index of business confidence in retail trade, based on responses from managers of about 4,000 stores in 78 regions of Russia.

The list of primary risks to entrepreneurs includes financial and economic tensions, the cessation of growing population income and the negative impact of the food embargo.

One of the largest players on the Russian retail market - Germany's Metro Group - stated in its annual report that the rapid growth of retail performance in Russian retail trade was caused by the "dramatic rise in prices."

Many Russian bloggers post pictures of crowds of customers at stores that sell electronic appliances, furniture and jewelry. Food supermarkets are no exception. To save their ruble savings from devaluation, many Russians rushed to buy consumer electronics, furniture, jewelry and other goods. The hysteria caused with the collapse of the Russian ruble coincided with the hype of New Year Eve sales. The demand on expensive home appliances is particularly high. For example, sales of TV sets have doubled in the last two weeks compared to the same period from last year. As for major home appliances, the demand on refrigerators is the largest.

Foreign customers rush to Russian online stores

The presence of foreign customers at Russian online stores has grown as well, as ruble prices in online stores do not keep up with the pace of the plummeting ruble. Representatives of a company that services bank payments said that foreign shoppers come to Russian online stores from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and China.

Many retailers have realized the threat that the collapse of the Russian ruble poses to them. For example, Apple Corporation has suspended online sales in Russia, although the company had already raised ruble prices for its products in November by 25 percent. 

Russian car dealers have suspended the sales of foreign-made cars on account of the collapsing Russian currency, the Vedomosti reports. Food retailers also said that commodity prices would rise after New Year holidays by 15 percent.

Many Russians convert their rubles in airplane tickets - their sales have grown by 30 percent over the recent two days, RBC reports. 

Due to the plummeting Russian currency, many suppliers suspend deliveries to retail chains and stores. They revise prices, and those, who do not accept the new prices, receive warnings on the possible suspension of deliveries. 

However, some bloggers, especially from Russian regions, say that there is absolutely no hysteria in their local stores. They post pictures from their stores that show that there is no panic there at all. 



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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov