Came across a Reebok store in one of the Mega Malls in Moscow. I assume it's a company store, but the Reebok website doesn't show any representation in Russia. In fact, I'm having problems clicking on any of the links for that page. Just me?Whoever owns the store, it's obviously still a reflection of the company, and I was mostly pleased. I worked retail for a number of years (though not in shoes/apparel, unless rollerblades count), and even though it was several years ago, I tried to get back into that frame of mind. Mega is a relatively new mall in Russia (www.teplystan.megamall.ru/en/), and is located outside the large circular highway that rings the city--far from the center, though pretty easily reached by metro/or bus (the mall also operates a free shuttle bus from select departure points). The mall would be a middlin' sized mall in the U.S. (five anchors, 200+ shops), but gets ungodly amounts of foot traffic for a few reasons: 1) it's very much a U.S./western-style mall, and has a definite novelty factor;2) it has an Auchan, a French 'hypermarket' that is kind of like Costco. Auchan has a great selection of Russian and foreign goods, and the prices can't be beat;3) Russian winters. On to the Reebok store there:www.teplystan.megamall.ru/en/shops/sport/reebok/Not very big (probably 2000-2500 square feet), but very clean and nicely laid out, just as I'd expect a U.S. store to be. Half devoted to women's shoes/apparel, half to men's. Probably 8-10 customers in there both times I walked by, with customers making a purchase both times. I was a little disappointed that no one asked us (w/girlfriend) if we needed help, especially since I was obviously eyeballing the place, walking all around, and one employee was watching me the whole time. Still, there were other employees helping other customers; good customer service having become more common in Russia, though by no means is it the norm. I don't buy a lot of athletic apparel (let's just say I don't wear out what I have all that fast), but the prices on the few shoes I checked seem to be pretty reasonable--under $100. Sounds high when you consider the average Russian salary (estimates range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month), but wages are on the rise here, and while Moscow is one of the world's most expensive cities (www.money.cnn.com/2005/06/21/pf/costliest_cities/), most young folks--the ones with increasing wages--are still living with their folks, still don't have a car payment, still don't pay health/car/home insurance, etc., and so have increasing disposable income to spend, we hope, on things like Reebok shoes.Competition: Sportmaster www.teplystan.megamall.ru/en/shops/sport/sportmaster/Couple doors down; not familiar with it, but it reminds me of a mall-based Sports Authority. Lotsa folks inside, but didn't go in.NikeInterestingly, Mega's Nike store webpage didn't come up. Perhaps the store is new.Next door to Sportmaster, with a sweet corner spot. A little bit bigger than the Reebok store, about the same amount of folks inside.No other TMF picks jumped out at me there, but I get out that way a couple times a month, and will keep my eyes open.Cheers,Mike (Reebok owner)
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