‘Amazon of Russia’ Ozon.ru Boosts Sales 55%, Eyes Acquisitions

Ozon.ru, a Russian online shopping site similar to Amazon.com Inc., saw net sales by dollar value rise 55 percent last year.

Revenue reached $250 million in 2012 and the number of registered users increased to more than 14.5 million from 10.7 million, the company, which describes itself as “the Amazon.com of Russia,” said in a statement today.

“Within the next five years when a Russian customer makes an online purchase the majority of them will be doing so through Ozon” or a related website, Chief Executive Officer Maelle Gavet said.

The company is looking into further acquisitions in e-commerce segments where it’s not yet present, such as specialty online stores on the model of Amazon’s diapers.com or soap.com, Gavet said this week in an interview in Moscow.

Initial public offerings by social network operator Mail.ru Group Ltd and search-engine provider Yandex NV “spurred investor interest in the Russian Internet, leading to massive investments in e-commerce projects,” intensifying competition over the past two years, Gavet said.

Ozon also plans to expand in fashion and in attracting smaller stores to use the company’s infrastructure, according to France-born Gavet. The Moscow-based company raised $100 million from investors in 2011 and used it to expand, buying online shoes-retailer Sapato.ru and building a warehouse in Tver.

Ozon’s largest shareholder is Baring Vostok Capital Partners, which was also an early investor in Yandex.

Ozon began in 1998 by selling books online, then expanded into goods ranging from electronics to toys. Unlike Amazon, the unpredictability of the Russian postal service means Ozon has its own delivery service, O-Courier. And it offers travel services, selling airline tickets and hotels booking online.

Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer, hasn’t established a Russian-language site. Amazon bought online shoes-retailer Zappos.com in 2009.

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