Russian Retailer RusMarket to Open First Store in Cuba

russian store in cuba

In a sign of growing economic ties, major Russian retailer RusMarket has announced plans to open its first store in Cuba by the end of 2023.

The new store will mark the company’s first foray into the Cuban market and aims to provide Cuban consumers with access to a wide range of Russian products that have been largely unavailable for decades.

Resurgence in Cuba-Russia Relations

RusMarket’s announcement comes amid a resurgence in Cuba-Russia relations, encompassing both strengthening intergovernmental contacts and growing interest from the business sector in cooperation between the two countries.

Most Cubans still fondly remember when Russian products were widely available during the Soviet era. RusMarket is betting that demand for Russian goods remains high even after a 30-year absence.

The company views Cuba as a long-term project and major area of growth. After opening its first store, RusMarket intends to establish a Cuban joint venture partner to facilitate expansion across multiple locations in Havana and other major cities.

Product Range to Address Consumer Needs

Initially, RusMarket’s first Cuba store will focus on food items like meat, dairy, canned goods, confectionery and beverages. The company has already begun the process of registering its products for sale in Cuba.

RusMarket aims to provide Cuban consumers access to goods that remain in short supply on the island due to import restrictions from the longstanding US trade embargo.

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Over time, the product range will expand to include automotive parts, construction materials and equipment, home appliances, textiles and clothing. RusMarket sees considerable pent-up demand in Cuba for these types of consumer products.

“We want to introduce Russian products into the Cuban market and likewise serve as a gateway for Cuban products into Russia. Our company aims to become a link between the two countries,” said RusMarket CEO Alexander Belchikov.

Win-Win for Both Countries’ Economies

For RusMarket, Cuba represents a promising new export market at a time when Western sanctions restrict business opportunities for Russian companies in Europe and North America.

The new store will also create a gateway for Cuban products like rum, cigars, and pharmaceuticals into the massive Russian market. RusMarket views the joint venture as a bridge between the two countries’ economies.

For Cuba, improving access to Russian imports will help ease shortages of consumer goods resulting from the longstanding US trade embargo. The influx of Russian products will provide relief to Cuban consumers struggling with daily hardships.

As economic links strengthen, the pending RusMarket store signals a new phase in Cuba-Russia commercial relations after a long interruption. Cuban consumers can look forward to browsing Russian products on store shelves once again as early as next year, reviving nostalgia for the Soviet era while also addressing present-day shortages.

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