Russia's weekly online sales growth slows to lowest since 2017 - NielsenIQ

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(Reuters) - Growth in online sales of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in Russia slowed in April to the lowest level since 2017, market analytics firm NielsenIQ said on Friday, after a crisis-driven scramble for products sent demand soaring in March.

In the week from April 4, online FMCG sales growth, which includes products such as toiletries, packaged food and soft drinks, fell to 10% year-on-year in Russia in real terms, the lowest growth since 2017, data from NielsenIQ showed.

The sales dynamic, which was also observed in offline channels, could be seen as a return to normal, said Konstantin Loktev, retail director at NielsenIQ Russia.

"There is no denying that given the current transformation in consumer habits and retailers' strategies, there will be further changes on the FMCG market and the very 'new normal' in question will indeed be new for both consumers and players," he said.

In March, weekly growth in online sales reached as high as 58% as shoppers fearing higher inflation and shortages scrambled to buy essential goods after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The conflict has triggered an economic crisis in Russia, with dozens of Western companies ceasing or suspending operations and inflation reaching 17.62% as of April 15, its highest level since early 2002.

Consumer electronics retailer M.Video-Eldorado on Thursday reported a 29.8% jump in online sales in the first quarter, but warned of challenges ahead.

(Reporting by Reuters, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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