Comrades in Consumption

I used to say Moscow is an island of prosperity in an ocean of despair," laughs Mark Wrong, a British developer with plans to build Western-style malls in several Russian cities. "But it's not true any more." Last month he broke ground on his first mall, in Yaroslavl, which is about 240 km northeast of Moscow, and over the next two to three years he hopes to have outposts as far as Ufa and Yekaterinburg.

Such expansion outside Moscow was unthinkable even a few years ago, but it's a sign of how Russian retailing has evolved over the...

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