X5 Retail Group, Russia's largest food retailer, is targeting the hypermarket channel after posting a jump in sales for 2007.

The company, which runs 868 stores in Russia's fast-growing retail sector, booked a 20% rise in like-for-like sales.

Consolidated net sales - including the impact of new store openings - leapt 53% to US$5.3bn.

CEO Lev Khasis said X5's position in the Russian retail market was "stronger than ever". The company, he added, plans to increase its hypermarket business in 2008. X5's store portfolio currently includes only 15 hypermarkets.

"This year we plan to accelerate gaining exposure to the hypermarket format by opening six compact and two large size hypermarkets," Khasis said. "As a result, we expect to deliver a net sales increase in the range of 36-38% - excluding FX effect - for the full year 2008."

X5 said like-for-like sales are forecast to rise 10% this year.