Britain's WH Smith to open Russian stores in 2013-consultant

MOSCOW Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:43am EST

MOSCOW Nov 22 (Reuters) - Newspapers, books and stationery retailer WH Smith Plc plans to open its first stores in Russia next year as part of its broader global expansion plans, property consultant Knight Frank said on Thursday.

The company is targeting airports to kick-start its expansion on the Russian market, with the help of local partners, Yulia Sokolova, a leasing director at Knight Frank, told Reuters.

Russia has been attracting international retailers seeking exposure to growing markets amid sluggish sales in much of Europe, with consistently rising disposable incomes and a 143 million-strong population underlying the country's appeal.

WH Smith, which operates more than 1,100 stores, primarily in Britain, said in April that it plans to expand internationally, focusing on new stores at travel hubs and in growing overseas markets that are helping to offset weakness on Britain's high streets.

The company was not immediately available for comment on its Russian expansion plans.

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