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The recovery that first began to emerge in the Ukrainian retail sector at the beginning of 2016 and continued to be evident on the market to date. Healthier consumer demand ensured quite solid growth of retail turnover (+1.9% y-o-y) in Kyiv over January-August period of 2018. In view of improved trading performance, existing players started to expand their retail chains more actively, delivering 30 new brands to the market last year, which marked Kyiv in top 5 European target markets by new entrants. Following a positive trend in the capital, retail landscape in the regional cities improved as well. Retail turnover grew at 5.0% y-o-y nationwide over January-August period of 2018, which was somewhat reflected in the GFK Consumer Confidence Index that improved by 1.7pp y-o-y.

As of the end of Q32018, development completions across Ukraine reached 57,000 sqm, which is up from 23,000 sqm recorded same period last year. The stock additions in Kyiv were represented by Rive Gauche Phase l (20,500 sqm), Smart Plaza Polytech (15,000 sqm), and the first retail park in Ukraine – Retail Park Petrivka (11,000 sqm). As a result of these new additions, the total professional stock volume grew to 1.1mio sq m (ca. +4% YTD). Although the construction of new retail schemes is progressing somewhat sluggishly, significant stock boost is expected to hit the market over the 2019-2020 period. The regional new supply to date was represented by a small-sized Woodmall SC (10,000 sq m) in Khmelnytskyi. Although regional completions are approximately 30% down from last year’s figure, regional retail space developments set for the next few years are estimated at ca. 300,000 sq m. 

Retailers’ demand to open and expand their brands kept up the trend from last year, on the back of improving consumption, as depicted in GFK Consumer Confidence Index to 60.3 from 58.6 in Q3 2017. As of the end of Q3 2018 among the most expected brands that entered the market were H&M, which opened one location in Lavina Mall SC and second – in Sky Mall SC, and Zara Home that landed in the heart of the city in Gulliver SC. Whereas a total of 15 new international brands entered the market as of the end of Q3 2018, a brand of ARGO Retail Promod left the market after an almost 18-year presence in Ukraine, a likely result of worldwide discontinuation of the brand. Although regional consumer demand remained more prone to economic fluctuations due to lower disposable income, retailer demand posted positive dynamics in line with general market trends. The regional fashion segment recorded the first Usupso enter the market in 2018 in Odesa’s SC, becoming the only new international brand in 2018 to enter a regional city before Kyiv. 

Major nationwide retail chains and international retailers continue their regional expansion strategy. Spanish retailer Inditex (presented brands: Zara, Zara Home, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho и Uterque) is one of the largest fashion retailers on the Ukrianian market with over 60 shops countrywide, with the total area over 40,000 sqm, whereas Turkish retailer LC Waikiki remains one of the fastest growing fashion-retailers with 30 stores across Ukraine in the cities of Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhya, and Chernihiv. In the DYI sector, five Epicentr K stores launched nationwide in 2018 so far, expanding the chain to almost 50 stores across the country. Danish home furnishing retailer JYSK Holding opened five regional stores in 2018 to date, on the way to its target of opening 12 stores annually. Retailers Eva and Watsons dominante on the drogerie market, with the latter totaling to almost 400 outlets countrywide and the former – to almost 730 stores countrywide as of the end of Q3 2018 (ca.+100 stores YTD). 

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Ukraine is home to around 43 million people, making it one of the largest countries in the region. A lack of competition and large consumer market with widespread brand awareness and the tendency to make purchases for the sake of prestige made Ukraine an attractive proposition for retailers. Although Ukraine faced an unprecedented combination of economic crisis aggravated by geopolitical tensions during the last two years, the chances of a significant positive shift in the country prospects are more credible than ever before. Retailer activity in terms of expansion and market entry renewed gradually on the back of stabilization of the socio-political situation and strengthening of consumer demand.   


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