German grocery giant AVA began work on its new US$18m hypermarket complex in Moscow yesterday. The grocery, electrics and household goods complex, which is due to open next spring, is expected to employ about 700 staff and include a 26,000m² self-service store.

At a news conference, Kurt Lindemann, CEO of AVA, commented: "The size of the market, the high degree of demand and the growth potential of the Russian economy make this market interesting."

Lindemann stressed that AVA seeks to offer permanently low prices, adding that the Moscow store expects to gross around US$43m in its first year of operation.