A Lenta store. Photo from Wikipedia

Lenta: Russian Grocery Store Chain

Published: January 5, 2019

Lenta operates the largest chain of hypermarkets in Russia. It is performing well, with 233 hypermarkets and 128 supermarkets in 85 Russian cities. These stores employ 53,100 people. The chain is present across Russia, but has a particularly strong prominence in Siberia. It also bears the distinction of being recognized as a Russian company, but operating mostly with capital from the United States and the European Union.

Lenta opened its first hypermarket in 1993 in St. Petersburg. Its headquarters remains there. The largest shareholders in the company are TPG Capital, an American investment company, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The company is listed as “LNTA” on the London and Moscow stock exchanges.

The firm is a distant third in the Russian grocery sector, but has been growing fast enough to keep pace with the rapidly growing industry. One estimate puts Lenta’s 2016 market share at 3.8%, with a projected market share of 3.9% in 2021. These numbers put it at joint-fourth largest market share in 2016 and fourth largest market share in 2021. The company, however, aims to remain at third place behind X5 and Magnit by 2020 through optimization of costs and store design.

Lenta has made a point of using innovations to grow its business. One example is a loyalty card program launched in 2000, then much less common in Russian grocery stores, that now has 12.7 million members. They have also partnered with Texan company Revionics for price optimization, which entails mathematically determining how customers will respond to different prices.

Overall, Lenta has shown that it has the ability to compete with larger brands. It is a good option as a low- to middle-tier store that holds a lot of inventory. At the same time, it will be challenged in maintaining its ground for market share in the future.

A video about Lenta’s data initiative.

About the author

Greg Tracey

Greg Tracey is a junior at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He is studying economics and international relations, as well as minoring in mathematics and Russian. As a Home and Abroad Scholar, he is focusing on business and economic issues in Russia and surrounding countries. The related scholarship will help fund his participation in SRAS's Russian as a Second Language program at St. Petersburg State University of Economics during the Spring 2019 Semester. In his free time, he enjoys reading and soccer.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

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