Auchan has remained silent on reports that it is aiming to expand its presence in Siberia through the acquisition of a local player.  

According to Russian business daily Kommersant, the France-based food retail giant has its sights set on the hypermarket chain Alpi which operates stores in the city of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.

"We do not comment this kind of market rumour," a spokesperson for the group told just-food this afternoon (10 June). However, the company did imply the continued importance of the Russian market.

Alpi has 28 hypermarkets and is estimated to be worth between US$450m and $500m.

It is believed Alpi, one of the largest Siberian retailers, would provide Auchan with an ideal foothold in the region.

According to reports, Alpi is heavily indebted to banks and suppliers and is therefore looking to sell its hypermarket business.

Auchan currently has 22 hypermarkets and 10 Atak supermarkets in Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Krasnodar and Ekaterinburg. Last year the group acquired Moscow-based supermarket chain Ramstore, which operated 10 stores, for $280.6m.