Magnit Declines Most in About 18 Months as Sales Growth Slows

OAO Magnit (MGNT), Russia’s largest retailer, reported slower sales growth in December as consumer spending weakened, sending the shares down the most in about 18 months.

Revenue rose almost 23 percent from a year earlier to 63.6 billion rubles ($1.9 billion), less than November’s 29 percent growth, Krasnodar, Russia-based Magnit said in a statement today. Convenience stores led the slowdown as consumers switched to hypermarkets and open markets for New Year shopping.

Magnit fell as much as 6 percent in London trading, the steepest drop since July 6, 2012. The stock was down 4.9 percent to $60.35 at 8:30 a.m. in the U.K. capital.

The sales performance “may disappoint investors who got used to Magnit’s excellent results,” said Natalia Kolupaeva, an analyst at ZAO Raiffeisenbank in Moscow. Magnit’s slowdown may cause investors to revise growth prospects for the entire Russian retail sector, Kolupaeva said.

Russian gross domestic product grew 1.2 percent in the third quarter, missing estimates. Economic growth has slowed every quarter since President Vladimir Putin won a third Kremlin term in March 2012. Russian retail sales grew 4.5 percent in November, according to Federal Statistics Service.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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