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Lithuanian supermarket operator to expand in Latvia

Aug 10, 2000

RIGA (BNS) - Vilniaus Prekybos, parent company of the biggest shopping centers and grocery chains in Lithuania, is set to expand into Latvia, business daily Dienas Bizness reported Aug. 2.

According to the newspaper, Vilniaus Prekybos is planning to open at least three MINIMA stores in Latvia by the end of the year and a newly built shopping center MAXIMA next fall in Riga's residential district Plavnieki.

Vilniaus Prekybos director Ignas Staskevicius told the newspaper that, upon launching business activities in Latvia, the company's subsidiary dealing with developing of Vilniaus Prekybos' real estate established a Latvian subsidiary SIA NDX Development that this year purchased a plot of land in Plavnieki.

Construction of the two-story shopping center MAXIMA is scheduled to begin next spring. The opening of the supermarket, which is expected to have a total space of 15,000 square meters, is planned for the following fall. The investment into the project is estimated at some $10 million.

Staskevicius said the first MINIMA store could be opened within a month or two.

Vilniaus Prekybos was established in 1992 and is 100 percent owned by Lithuanian capital. So far the company had been operating only in Lithuania where it presently runs 70 supermarkets.

Vilniaus Prekybos is the owner of MINIMA shopping center chain whose shops have a space of 300-800 square meters; MEDIA with outlets that are 800 to 2,000 square meters; and MAXIMAs with space exceeding 2,000 square meters.

Along with the food stores the shopping centers are renting out space to other lessees as well.

The company also is the owner of a low-price stores chain Taupa and "cash & carry" wholesale facilities network Baze.

Presently the company runs 25 MINIMA stores, 10 MEDIAs, six MAXIMAs, 25 Taupa stores and four Baze wholesale facilities. So far 28 new stores have been opened in Lithuania and 30 more are expected to open by the end of the year.

Staskevicius said Vilniaus Prekybos in 1999 generated a turnover of 1.1 billion litas ($275 million) while in 2000 the turnover is expected to reach $500 million following the opening of the new stores.


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