Turkish supermarket benefits from Russian crisis

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ISTANBUL -- A Turkish-owned supermarket chain is plowing money into Russian real estate and claims it is benefiting from the country's current economic crisis.

Migros, a subsidiary of Turkey's biggest conglomerate, Koc Holding, and Turkish construction company ENKA, which jointly own Russia's biggest shopping center, will open the second Ramstore Hypermarket in Russia in November. Work will start on a third in the same month, with plans for it to open in May or June 1999.

Ramstore General Manager Aziz Bulgu says the existing Ramstore Hypermarket Moscow has seen increased business since the Russian economy began to shake. The average number of visitors to the outlet each day has swelled recently from 5,000 to 7,000, he says.

Mr. Bulgu believes the store's stocking policy may be the reason for the business upturn. Ramstore Hypermarket carries many goods imported from Turkey and has been attempting to overcome the current shortage of certain products in Moscow, such as sun- flower oil, detergent, macaroni and canned goods, by importing from Turkey as fast as possible.

Also, he notes: "Some shop owners, instead of putting the goods on shelves, hide [them] in depots with the intention of selling later for higher prices in dollars. We don't do this, but offer our customers whatever we have in stock."

Copyright September 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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