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Russian Shoppers Face Shrinking Options on Store Shelves – BBC

Denis Voronin / Moskva News Agency

The variety of goods on sale at Russian shops has fallen across nearly every category this spring, according to research cited by the BBC’s Russian service.

Russian consumers face increasingly limited product choices as Western sanctions and the exit of more than 900 foreign businesses over the war in Ukraine have cut off many import flows.

“Where there were options, there will be no options,” market research firm Infoline CEO Ivan Fedyakov told BBC Russia.

Between March 21 and May 1, NielsenIQ’s research showed the assortment of grocery products including cooking oil, bottled drinks and baby food falling by between 6% and 22%.

Non-food items including household cleaning and personal care products decreased in variety by 14% to 33%.

A total of 155 categories of food and non-food goods have been scaled down over the 12-week period, according to the NielsenIQ company’s reported data. 

Only 12 categories saw a rise in assortment in that time.

Industry experts stressed that Russian consumers will not experience shortages despite fewer brands appearing on store shelves.

“[But] the previous level of comfort will become unattainable for consumers,” Infoline’s Fedyakov told BBC Russia.

Russia last month allowed the import of everyday consumer goods, as well as major car brands, smartphones, game consoles and spare parts, into the country without agreement from intellectual property owners in an attempt to bypass Western sanctions.

Russia classified import and export data in April as it anticipated a drop in trade volumes in the fallout from the invasion of Ukraine.

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