X5, Russia's largest retailer, has posted strong fourth-quarter and full-year results despite the global economic crisis.
The group saw like-for-like sales rise by 15% for the past three months and by more than a fifth (22%) for the year as a whole to tighten its grip on the Russian retail market.
Total sales rose by more than 50% over the year to $8.3bn, buoyed by the company's acquisition of the Karusel hypermarket chain.
"In 2008 X5 further strengthened its leadership in Russian retail, and we delivered on all our plans for the year," said group chief executive Lev Khasis. "2008 was a breakthrough year for our hypermarket format as we acquired Karusel, successfully integrated the acquired stores and tripled our hypermarket store count from 15 to 46."
He added: "[Our performance] proves that if you deliver for your customers, your customers will deliver for you. By making value proposition our number-one priority, we have consistently won customers and delivered the strongest like-for-like and sales-per-square-meter results in the industry, particularly in X5's home cities - Moscow and St. Petersburg.
"While in the short-term we expect the soft discounter format will continue to outperform, in the longer run it is our multi-format strategy and powerful appeal to customers in each of the formats that gives us confidence in X5's outstanding prospects."