RIGA - Elkor, one of Latvia's largest retail outfits, has announced its intention to invest 14 million euros in a vacant shopping mall in Riga.
The company's management told journalists on Nov. 7 that it paid 8 million euros for the mall, called Krasta Centrs, and that it was prepared to shell out another 6 million in revamping the building.
The company is planning to open its own brand name mall 's Elkor Centrs 'sin the building.
Alseksandrs Popovs, owner of Elkor, said the new mall would be opened in two phases 's with the first section at the end of this year and the second in 2006 after reconstruction works.
"After opening the first section of the shopping center, it will sell household appliances, sports clothes and equipment. We will expand the range of our goods with the mall's second section, where we'll offer also furniture, plumbing equipment and other goods," Popovs said.
Krasta Centrs' previous owner, System Service, bought the shopping mall at an auction in December 2002, after a court declared its previous owner, Krasta Hipermarkets, insolvent.
Though the mall opened its doors in the summer of 2001, it has been empty since January 2002.
Elkor is one of the largest retailers of household appliances, sporting goods and clothes in the Baltic state. At present, the retail chain unites nearly 30 stores.
Elkor CEO Ronalds Feldmanis said that the company was considering possibilities to open new stores both across Latvia and abroad. "At present, we are exploring the market for opening new stores in Latvia's regional cities. We are also eyeing markets in other countries 's Estonia and Lithuania, as well as other European countries," he said.
Elkor is 80-percent owned by Popovs and 20-percent by Andrejs Vlasovs, according to the Latvian Business Register.