Russian retailer X5 Retail Group is to open 540 stores in 2011 as the country’s largest retailer by sales continues its expansion.

In a trading update, X5 said it expects gross sales to exceed RUR500bn (US$16.32bn), inclusive of VAT, in 2011, representing top-line-growth of around 40%.

The firm said it expects the increase to be driven by organic net sales growth “in the low 20% range” on a higher base compared to 2010, with the remainder contributed by the Kopeyka acquisition, announced earlier this month.

In addition, X5 said it hopes to open 500 discount stores, 20-25 supermarkets, five to ten hypermarkets,and ten Pyaterochka Maxi stores.

X5 CEO Lev Khasis said the firm is “on track” to deliver on X5’s 2010 outlook for top-line-growth “in the low 20% range”, supported by a “recovery in consumer spending and trading-up trends” in the fourth quarter.

He added: “We believe this is the right time to further accelerate growth. X5 recently completed the acquisition of Kopeyka, adding to opportunities for our industry-leading discounter format and complementing our core organic growth strategy. Today we are proud to announce the company’s 2011 outlook, with plans to significantly increase the pace of organic expansion.”

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X5 will issue its preliminary annual outlook in January 2011 in conjunction with its fourth-quarter trading announcement. The firm also today announced the appointment of ex-Mars Inc executive Keiran Balfe as its CFO.