What Russian home improvement companies are reporting

Reports have reached us from Maxidom and Petrovich regarding the current situation among DIY store operators in Russia. Both companies are in the Top 10 in Russia. We reproduce their statements below: Maxidom reports: The overall situation In the middle of March, an order was issued in Russia stating that cinemas, theatres, philharmonics, circuses, and other organisations must be temporarily closed due to the escalating coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Many companies are switching to remote working. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and DIY stores continue operating as usual. Overall, despite the unfavourable economic conditions, the sales in our hypermarkets have increased. We realise that the share of offline purchases will most likely be decreasing. Our strategy is to focus on our online store. We will be offering free shipping services and extra discounts for people purchasing products on our website. People are afraid of public spaces and choose a safer way of shopping. The number of online purchases in March has already increased by 35 per cent, compared with the previous year. High-demand products We see significant demand for respiratory masks. There is a 50-fold increase in sales for some of the products. In addition, people are stocking up on sanitisers. There is a shortage of these products. They get sold out on the same day they are restocked.Moreover, recently, the demand for television sets has increased 10-fold, for bread makers20-fold and for freezers 7-fold. This could be a result of coronavirus panic: people are stocking up on goods and are seriously preparing for self-isolation. Another possible factor is the fall of the Russian rouble against the US dollar at the beginning of March. People realise that the prices for imported products will rise very soon. Working with suppliers We have not noticed any issues with suppliers. Since the beginning of March, China has resumed product delivery. There was no shortage of products in our stores due to the temporary shutdown of manufacturers in China. The peak of the epidemic overlapped with traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. We prepare for the vacations of our Asian partners each year and fill our storage facilities beforehand. Currently, Maxidom keeps working with –°hina in the usual way. There have not been any failures in the supplies of European products so far. We are still successfully working even with the countries that closed their borders to individuals. However, our drivers have noted that they have to go through health screenings at the borders. It is hard to predict how cargo transportation will be organised in the near future. Customer safety The situation with Covid-19 is unpredictable. We will be certainly developing e-commerce and maintaining safe conditions in our hypermarkets. We have already introduced new safety measures such as regular disinfection and sanitisation of sales areas, cashier areas, public spaces and offices. In addition, we have set hand sanitiser dispensers for ourcustomers at the entrance. Igor Kolynin, marketing director of Petrovich, writes: The general situation is scary, of course. For now everything is open and Russia has only 200 cases of virus-infected people, but you never know what will happen next day. Some companies are asking employees to work from home. Most of the companies are working as they worked before the pandemic. All stores are open, but distance sales are increasing. Petrovich is currently benefiting, as we have a strong e-commerce channel.But we can expect any development in the situation, such as closing stores, or even shutting down all sales, including distance sales.