Rewe Group, the German retail giant, said today (20 May) that it plans to open 20 more stores in Russia this year to continue its expansion in the country.

The company, which already operates 58 Billa outlets in Russia, wants to open 20 Biop stores in central Russia in 2009.

The expansion plans follow Rewe’s acquisition of supermarket chain Njam Njam last December.

“Despite the specific challenges of the current economic situation, our business in the Russian market is developing very successfully,” Rewe International CEO Frank Hensel said.

“Since our supermarket concept started in Russia in 2004, we have recorded annual growth rates of 30-40% when calculated in euros.”

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In 2007, Rewe’s Russian business generated turnover of EUR210m (US$287.6m). Figures for 2008 will be published next month but the retailer said its sales in Russia climbed by 35% in euro terms last year.