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Grocery Chain Moves to Kaliningrad

Moscow's largest grocery retailer, Sedmoi Kontinent, said Tuesday that it had expanded outside the capital by buying a chain in the western exclave of Kaliningrad for about $36 million.

By acquiring the Altyn chain, Sedmoi Kontinent got 29,500 square meters of trading space in 12 stores, it said in a statement.

In September, Altyn will start operating under Sedmoi Kontinent's Universam brand, a low-price chain serving suburban shoppers. This year, Altyn is expected to post $65 million in turnover.

Sedmoi Kontinent plans to open at least 20 stores per year. This year it will focus its development in Moscow, but it is in talks to expand in all the regions beginning in 2006, mostly through acquisitions.

Two more Universams will open in 2006 in Kaliningrad, a Baltic exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, Sedmoi Kontinent said.

Sedmoi Kontinent will also invest an undisclosed sum to build two shopping centers with trading space of about 40,000 square meters in Kaliningrad.

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