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Latvia's amount of shopping center retail floor space is expected to grow 47 percent in the next two years as international retail chains continue to jostle for market share.
The real estate firm Ober Haus predicts that Riga will lead the Baltic capitals in retail space by next year.
Riga currently has about 166,000 square meters of shopping center space. Tallin leads the Baltics with about 200,000 square meters. Vilnius has about 100,000 square meters.
The Latvian capital is expected to have new 246,000 square meters of new shopping floor space by the end of 2004.
Today the city's largest retail developer is Norway's Linstow Varner. The company has so far built 56,000 square meters of shopping space, including the first round of the Alfa shopping center on the outskirts of Riga, which has floor space of 15,000 square meters.
By the end of 2003 Linstow Varner is planning to expand Alfa to 60,000 square meters.
The Lithuanian company Vilniaus Prekyba recently launched the operations of its Maxima chain of hypermarkets in Riga, which has a total floor space of 9,000 square meters. Vilniaus Prekyba is planning to open two more Maxima stores before the end of the year and the company is planning to expand its chain of medium-sized supermarkets.
The real estate developer Pro Kapital, the company owned by Italian businessman Ernesto Preatoni's, has began construction of the Domina shopping complex on the premises of the former VEF eletronics plant in Riga. The complex is expected to have 50,000 square meters of retail floor space.
Stockmann is planning to build a 38,000-square-meter shopping center, Daugavas Centrs and Vilniaus Prekyba has announced plans to build a shopping complex in an unused agricultural machinery plant in the Riga suburbs with 52,000 square meters of floor space.