June / 2017
X5, Acmero, and Marathon Group to develop passenger service centers
X5 Retail Group, one of Russia's largest grocery retail companies, has signed a trilateral partnership agreement with direct investment firm Acmero Capital Limited and the Marathon Group investment company to develop centers offering a range of retail services at passenger transportation hubs, or "passenger service centers" as they are called.

The agreement was signed by X5 CEO Igor Shekhterman, Acmero Capital Limited's Senior Managing Partner Siman Povarenkin, and Marathon Group President Alexander Vinokurov.

The parties estimate this may involve the opening of 600 to 1,000 passenger service centers (PSC's) by end 2021. The centers will be opened at bus stations, roadside malls, airports, and main railroad stations throughout Russia. They will provide a range of modern-type services under a single roof, including food stores (the Pyaterochka chain), pharmacies (operated by Marathon Group), dining facilities (Acmero), ticket offices, parcel terminals, ATM's, payment transfer terminals, and so forth. The precise services offered and PSC configuration will depend on demand at each specific location.

A GIS (geoinformation system) introduced and operated by the Pyaterochka food store chain since 2014 will be used to decide the best PSC locations and most economically efficient configurations.

"An average 50 million passengers use various types of public transportation each day in Russia, and we see an opportunity to convert passenger traffic into retail earnings. X5 has calculated that passenger flows at bus and rail stations can be an important factor in shaping customer traffic at food stores and dining facilities. Implementing this plan in small cities, where the bus and railroad stations are often centers that attract residents, but don't have a well-developed retail infrastructure, is a particularly exciting idea," X5 CEO Igor Shekhterman said.

"This is a much-needed way of providing retail services with good development potential. Transportation hubs are true people magnets in today's mobile society, and high traffic is very important for pharmacy sales. The Marathon Group has the expertise and resources required to take part in this massive project as a pharmacy operator, and we have working beneficially with the X5 Retail Group for a long time, so we are confident this venture will be a success," Marathon Group President Alexander Vinokurov said.

"It's a totally forgotten idea, but one that is very contemporary and much-needed by consumers, and that is capable of radically changing the concept of travel and comfort in Russia as a whole. We want to breathe new life into the old railroad and bus stations, but frequently we have to build properties from the ground up and in places they never existed before, like on highways. This cannot be done without extensive partnerships with transportation infrastructure operators, but our first few steps in this direction have shown the openness and businesslike approach by the major companies in this area," Acmero Capital Managing Partner Siman Povarenkin said.