Moscow-based supermarket chain Paterson is to be the first to venture into the St Petersburg market on 1 June this year, amid hopes that it can carve out a profitable niche in the city before the arrival of its Moscow rivals Perekrestok and Seventh Continent.

Yury Yakovchik, general director of Paterson subsidiary Omega-97, said that the chain aims to open ten supermarkets in St Petersburg in the next two years. For each store, which will cost up to US$2m, the company will invest 70% and 30% will be credits.

Yakovchik added that Paterson aims to close the gap with other Russian trading chains with the investment in St Petersburg: “The Moscow market is being filled very quickly. Hence we are seeking the ways to make additional profit in the periphery and want to be among the leaders there.”

Perekrestok and Seventh Continent are not expected to open in St Petersburg until October at the earliest.

Paterson, which was founded by Irish group Paterson Consulting Ltd, first opened in Moscow in 1997. The eleventh Paterson store will start working in Russia’s capital in June 2002.