retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Bloomberg has a story about Wildberries, the Russian online retailer, which saw its business boom over the past year because of - go figure - the pandemic.  The surge in interest forced the company to accelerate its plans to expand its item count, signing up local producers and opening up an online marketplace.

And now, Wildberries is looking to expand geographically:  "Wildberries started selling in Israel, Poland, and Slovakia in 2019 and this year added France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, putting it for the first time into direct competition with Inc., which doesn’t operate in Russia."

One advantage Wildberries has as it moves west, owner-CEO Tatyana Bakalchuk says, "is close ties with small vendors dating from the 2014 crisis. The marketplace model she put in place then has increased the number of partners from just a few thousand to almost 100,000, with 5 million product listings. That expansion has helped Wildberries add new categories such as electronics, toys, sporting goods, and books, and Bakalchuk says her technology and approach can be easily adapted for new markets. 'Our strength is working with small businesses, and it really doesn’t matter what country you’re in,' she says."