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Mercator Aiming for Leading Position in SE Europe

Ljubljana, 15 December (STA) - Mercator, Slovenia's no. 1 retailer, aims to become the leading fast-moving goods retailer in Southeast Europe in line with a mid-term plan until 2015 that the supervisory board endorsed on Tuesday.

In 2011 the group plans to raise revenue by 6% over the projections for this year to EUR 2.9bn. By 2015 the figure is set to increase to EUR 4.2bn, meaning that revenue would grow by 9% on average a year.

Foreign markets are expected to account for 55% of total revenue by 2015, when net profit is planned to top EUR 100m, more than double the EUR 41m Mercator is planning for next year.

Some EUR 700m will be earmarked for investment in the five-year period, the bulk allocated for development of the retail network in existing markets and the entry, in 2013, of Macedonia and Kosovo.

Mercator currently operates in Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro,Bulgaria and Albania.

By 2015 the number of employees is planned to reach increase from less than 24,000 to over 33,000, making Mercator one of the largest employers in Southeast Europe.

In Slovenia Mercator aims to remain the No. 1 retailer and in existing markets in the former Yugoslavia it plans to "consolidate or attain the position of the second largest fast moving consumer goods retailer".

In Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo its plan is to rank among the top five retailers of fast moving consumer goods.

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