‘Dynamic’ Russia attracts Rewe

Rewe Group boss Frank Hensel has praised Russia as an “extremely dynamic market”.Hensel said today (Thurs): “We would carry out our expansion there twice as fast if we could, but there are always some problems with property ownership issues. Russia is an extremely dynamic market though.”The German company currently runs 68 Billa supermarkets in the former Soviet country. Rewe’s businesses in Austria, Italy and Eastern Europe (EE) are managed by Wiener Neudorf-based Rewe International which achieved a turnover of 11.55 billion Euros in 2009, up by six per cent compared to 2008.Hensel said the situation in Austria stands in stark contrast to the outlook for Russia.”There’s no reason for us to be euphoric about 2011,” he said, explaining that dramatic harvest declines and more international speculation activities over foodstuff prices were worrying developments. “Several price hikes will be unavoidable,” he warned.Rewe manages around 2,500 shops such as supermarket Billa and discount chain Penny. The firm dominates the country’s market with an overall share of 35 per cent ahead of Spar Austria.Hensel said EE was a promising field, but also made clear that Rewe had no plans for entering new markets in the foreseeable future. “Firstly, we are glad about how we have got through the crisis. We are well occupied with our current activities,” he said.The Rewe Group chief explained: “There is no point in stepping on new territory as long as there is potential for growth in the countries in which we are already doing business.”