Lenta’s flotation shows Russian retail is a mixed bag. The St. Petersburg hypermarkets operator is preparing a $1-billion (U.S.) London listing, hoping it will lure Western investors with its fast growth, high margins and serious potential as Russian shopping catches up with the West.
This flotation has been months in the planning, and Lenta’s business is built on selling at any time. Yet if this were one of Lenta’s 24-7 superstores, the timing of this share sale feels more six o’clock on a Monday morning than noon on Saturday. Emerging-market equities have wobbled, the economy is sluggish and consumers wary. Structural growth will be a harder sell against such a weak backdrop.