MOSCOW, April 18 (Reuters) - Russia's largest home electronics retailer, M.video, expects sales to rebound in the second quarter after a drop in the first three months of the year, Alexander Tynkovan, the company's president, told Reuters.
He said the first quarter results were weakened by unusually high sales in the first quarter of 2016, when a falling rouble prompted many consumers to spend money before it lost value, including on electronic goods.
While the Russian economy has recently picked up, he said he did not yet see signs of improvement in consumer confidence and spending.
"On the consumer market, the effect of economic growth is not observed. There is a lack of money, people continue to live in savings mode," Tynkovan, who is selling his stake in M.video, said.
The retailer, which is due to merge with rival Russian retailer Eldorado after Tynkovan sells his stake, said on Tuesday its sales fell 3 percent in January to March from a year earlier.
However, sales in February and March were up 6 percent on average, year-on-year, M.video said in a statement.
"April is better and we expect that the second quarter will be positive in terms of sales dynamics," Tynkovan said.
Russia's economy is expected to return to growth in 2017 after two years of recession, helped by a recovery in oil prices, according to official forecasts.
Other retailers have also said, however, that there are no signs yet of a pick-up in consumer spending.
Russia's central bank said last month it expected consumer demand to rise in the second quarter of 2017.
Tynkovan and his partners agreed in December to sell their entire controlling interest in M.video to Safmar group, owned by businessmen Mikhail Gutseriyev and Mikail Shishkanov. Safmar plans to merge M.video with rival retailer Eldorado, which it already controls.
Russia's anti-monopoly watchdog has approved the acquisition, and Tynkovan said the competition regulator only required minimal store closures in a couple of regions in order to give the deal the green light. (Reporting by Olga Sichkar, Christian Lowe, Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Susan Fenton)