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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Grocery Chain Caters to Gourmets

The first store of a new gourmet supermarket chain is set to open doors Thursday to appeal to the growing ranks of Moscow's picky eaters. Globus Gourmet will feature fresh produce farmed by the city's premier restaurateur, Arkady Novikov, and other exotic products.

The chain's operator, Stolichnaya Torgovaya Kompaniya, or STK, invested $2.5 million in the shop on Bolshaya Yakimanka Ulitsa, STK general director Andrei Yakovlev said during the chain's presentation Wednesday. STK plans to open two more Globus outlets by the end of the year, increasing the number of shops to as many as 15 by the end of 2008, Yakovlev said.

Novikov, owner of approximately 60 Moscow eateries that range from the sleek Vogue cafe to the casual Yolki Palki chain, and Lev Khasis, chairman of the country's No. 4 supermarket chain, Perekryostok, are both on STK's board.

Globus will carry Italian raspberry-flavored balsamic vinegar, priced at $33 for a 250 milliliter jar, have an adjacent kitchen run by Cuban chef Jose Sevilla to churn out deli foods and sell fresh produce from Novikov's 20-hectare farm on Rublyovo Uspenskoye Shosse.

"This is not a chain of boutiques, but a premium supermarket chain for everyday purchases," Yakovlev said.

Globus will not compete directly with French gourmet chain Fauchon, which STK brought to Moscow's Tverskaya-Yamskaya ulitsa in October 2004. An average sales receipt at Globus will be about $30 to $40, compared to Fauchon's $80, he said.

"Premium is different from expensive," STK's board chairman, Gideon Weinbaum, said. In addition to top quality delicacies, Globus will carry lower-end items in each product category.

Novikov said Globus will compete with all food retailers, even outdoor kiosks, for customers. Yakovlev, however, was more conservative. He pegged Kalinka Stockmann as the new chain's direct competitor.

Jussi Juuts, director of Stockmann's international operations, said that the Moscow market had room for another premium supermarket chain. Approximately half of the products sold at Stockmann's supermarkets are imported, he said.

The 750,000-square-meter Globus is the first store to open at the Gimeney retail complex, set to open the rest of its upper market stores in August, said Vladimir Melnik, general director of Dominion-M, Gimeney's developer and management company.

It is too early to say how successful gourmet shops will be, but they have potential, said Yelena Borodenko, a consumer goods analyst at Alfa Bank. "There are many wealthy people in Moscow," she said.

Yakovlev was reluctant to name the income group of Globus' prospective customers, but said they would probably have a monthly income of at least $1,000 per family member.