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Stores Probed for Using English

Stores that use English words in banners outside their establishments are facing a crackdown by antitrust authorities.

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has opened investigations into a chain of fast-food restaurants, a cafe and a sportswear store, all of which face fines for using English words in their advertising banners.

The companies targeted include Yaposhka-City, which owns Yaposha, a chain of Japanese fast-food restaurants; Trade Retail, owner of Bogner sportswear store; and Potential, owner of Bar BQ Cafe, the Moscow branch of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said in a statement Monday.

Yaposha faces punishment over a banner reading "Happy New Menu," which only had the last word — Menu — in Russian. Trade Retail's English-language banner read "Bogner New Collection," and Potential's October advertisement for Bar BQ Cafe used the English word "Halloween."

Federal law bans the use of foreign words in advertising. The companies face fines of 100,000 to 500,000 rubles ($3,250 to $16,250), a spokeswoman for the anti-monopoly service told The Moscow Times.

The service will consider punishment against Yaposhka-City on Nov. 24, Trade Retail on Nov. 25, and Potential on Nov. 29.

The companies had no immediate comment on the banners.

Many companies use English in their advertising, and the anti-monopoly service did not explain why it decided to single out these three companies and whether other companies might also face fines.

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