After having  slumped by 30 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2020, based on data released by the research institute GfK, the Russian eyewear market is showing signs of recovery, although the pace varies from region to region and the outlook remains bleak, according to Victor Gordeychyuk, owner of the Russian largest eyewear retailer Happy Look.

Happy Look managed to reopen 196 out of 221 stores in Russia with the easing of the coronavirus-related lockdown, Gordeychyuk said. But ten underperforming stores will remain permanently closed, he added.

“I have been talking with my colleagues, and it turns out we all are more or less are in the same boat. In Moscow, the slump in sales during the quarantine was quite strong – between 90 and 100 percent, but sales bounced back quickly enough when restrictions were lifted,” Gordeychyuk said.

In St. Petersburg and the North-West federal district, where the coronavirus pandemic was exceptionally severe, the market is recovering slower because the local population is short of money, he added.

Happy Look’s sales in June were 15 percent lower than a year earlier, while the retailer was initially targeting a 15 percent growth. 

Gordeychyuk warned that the situation remains difficult and the retailer sector could face a harsh winter. “The population is not getting wealthier, purchasing power is not going to grow, and demand is set to shrink. This could lead to staff reduction in the retail segment, and a massive wave of closures is anticipated” from this autumn, Gordeychyuk said. He noted that historically eyewear retailers tend to weather crises better than other retail businesses.