Russian gray imports destroying Belarusian open markets

Open market trading in Belarus is dying before our eyes. Earlier in the Salihorsk market, entrepreneurs fought for places, now they just leave them empty. For each working pavilion, there are ten, twenty empty places or closed sales spots. Some businessmen are still trying to sell pavilions — but nobody really needs them anymore.

“People closed their outlets and left in order not to pay rent. After all, rent is ridiculous. It happens every day, people move away,“ the sole proprietor Tatsyana Kuchynskaya said.

Setting up an outlet used to cost two and a half thousand dollars. Now dozens of outlets are abandoned, plenty of space to do business. Renting a place costs 88 BYN per month, but there are no people willing to rent it. After all, there are very few buyers, and they come only on weekends.

Lyudmila is selling Belarusian-made women’s clothing. She once invested 15 thousand dollars in the launch of her outlet, and she invested ieven more in the clothes she is selling. She doesn’t want to leave the outlet, but there is nowhere to store goods. So she continues to work, by inertia.

Every month you have to pay a rent of 129 rubles, 76 rubles of tax, plus a utilities bill. Each month, Lyudmila sells an average of thirty items. A year ago there were twice as much. But in December 2017, sales dropped sharply. The thrifty buyer turned to Asian seller who undercut sellers entrepreneurs like Lyudmila.

Many market entrepreneurs are closing down. The new year promises to be even more difficult for them. Identification marks for individual goods are to be introduced. Many will not be able to fulfill the new standard, as wholesalers do not provide such documents to our entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs cannot influence the gray imports of Russia. And now there are even more reasons to get a fine or get sanctioned for the goods during the inspection. The problem with online receipts, which Russians do not always provide, has not been solved either, but Belarusians still need to have them.

The number of modern shopping centers and the presence of well-known brand stores are increasing annually in Belarus. Therefore, solvent buyers from the markets go to more attractive, warm and cozy places. This year, 17 new shopping centers have appeared in Belarus — there are almost 600 of them now. But there are three less open markets. Now there are 386 of them all over Belarus.

Shopping centers are interested in increasing number of buyers. To do this, even at the construction stage, they think over the placement of stores, the light, and the temperature of the room. And marketers are already coming up with new ways of luring buyers.

Small entrepreneurs will never be able to compete with markets. Therefore, it remains for them to have an individual approach to each customer. But it seems that the markets will eventually disappear from the map of Belarus.

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