Russia’s Prime Minister, Alexey Mishustin, has postponed the compulsory tagging of footwear in the domestic market from March 1 to July 1, according to a decree posted on the Russian government’s website on March 3.
The system was partly to curb sales of fake products, which are still rampant in the Russian athletic footwear and sneaker market. This shadow market is estimated to account for between 20 and 25 percent of the total shoe market.
The new rules were called off urgently because the technical base was not sufficiently prepared, paralyzing sales of footwear for two days. Reportedly, the government-run electronic system was not recognizing the tags and was not allowing the sale of the shoes. There were similar problems with custom clearance of imported shoes.
In follow-up statements, Russian government officials blamed footwear companies for sabotaging the tagging project.
A group of Russian companies – including Kant, one of Russia’s major sporting goods retail chains, along with the online retailer Lamoda and the Pazolini Group – had previously filed an open letter to the Russian government asking for a postponement of the ban on untagged shoes until Sept. 1.
According to Maxim Vinogradov, who runs Kant, there were numerous glitches in the system, delaying supplies and preventing the sale of products.
In fact, Russian authorities were reportedly surprised as shoes manufacturers and importers had ordered 1.1 billion tags to put on their products, a much higher volume than projected. Officially, the size of the Russian shoe market was estimated at close to 460 million pairs in 2018.
The system being put in place to issue the tags came under great pressure, as Russian footwear companies were ordering around 70,000 new tags every day.