French retailer Auchan is to expand its Russian operations by opening stores in regional cities.

The company’s representatives revealed plans to open stores in Ufa, Kazan and Tchelyabinsk at a business summit in Moscow last week.

A spokesperson said: “The reason for the expansion is our wish to be present in Russian cities with more than 500,000 people, so we are looking for opportunities in many cities. Of course, the big cities with economical potential like Kazan, Oufa and Tcheliabinsk are very interesting for us.”

Auchan, which has 43 hypermarkets in Russia, said that its strong recent financial performance was boosted by its operations in central and eastern Europe and Asia.

Auchan chairman Vianney Mulliez said sales were helped by a “firm business performance” in three “major” countries – France, Russia and China. “Together with eastern Europe, these countries drove our revenue growth,” he said.