Magnit sales slowed in December as consumers sought out cheaper items

Magnit sales slowed in December as consumers sought out cheaper items

Magnit, Russia's largest food retailer by revenue, has booked higher sales for 2013, although a slowdown in the fourth quarter caused its shares to fall today.

The company, which has over 8,000 stores across Russia, said annual like-for-like sales were up 5.2%. In the fourth quarter, like-for-like sales were up 4.3%.

It posted a 29.2% increase in net retail sales to RUR579.53bn (US$17.42bn), hitting its forecast of growth of 28-29%.

However, growth slowed to 22.9% in December. Magnit said there was "a clear trend of consumers refocusing towards products in lower-price segments". The retailer also said unseasonably warm weather and the growth in the number of larger stores had hit sales at convenience outlets. Magnit's estate includes over 7,200 outlets.

Shares in Magnit were down 3.69% at RUB8,660 at 15:07 Moscow time today.

Magnit plans to report its full financial results for 2013 on 27 January.