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Sedmoi Sees Revenues Jump 50%

Sedmoi Kontinent, one of Moscow's top three supermarket chains, did $105 million worth of business last year, 50 percent more than in 1999, the company said Thursday.

Vladimir Karnaukhov, board member and general director of Stolichny Gastronomy, Sedmoi Kontinent's largest shareholder, laid out ambitious expansion plans.

Valentin Zapevalov, the chain's external relations director, said the company needs 100 stores to take advantage of real economies of scale and succeed in an increasingly competitive market.

Karnaukhov said the company, which currently has 15 stores in Moscow, plans to invest $40 million in 10 new stores and three trade complexes by March, adding 30,000 square meters of retail space to its existing 63,221 square meters.

Three-quarters of the financing for these projects will come from the company's own funds. The remaining $10 million is bank financing, Zapevalov said.

In the fourth quarter of 2002, the company plans to unveil a retail complex with more than 20,000 square meters in St. Petersburg.

And by the end of next year the company expects to have a total of 35 stores.

Sedmoi Kontinent is engaged in a continuing search for a strategic investor, but thus far without results, Karnaukhov said.

"[Finding a strategic investor] is not a question of life or death, it's a question of growth rates," said Zapevalov.

"If we don't have a strategic investor, we'll develop two to three times more slowly," he said.

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