Aras Agalarov: "We try to compensate for chatter about Russia exaggerated in Western press"
President of the Crocus Group, a Russian businessman of Azerbaijani descent Aras Agalarov is a well-known person. Not everyone heard his name, but many saw the objects managed by his company - VEGAS shopping malls, the hypermarket chain 'Tvoi Dom', the Crocus City Mall shopping mall, boutiques, the Crocus City, the concert hall Crocus City Hall, Myakinino metro station, etc. Yesterday, while speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza at the celebration of his 62nd birthday in Crocus, Aras Agalarov shared his plans for the future.
- Aras Iskenderovich, please tell us about your further plans for development of the Crocus Group.
- I could not tell about it in just one interview. We are developing our hypermarket chain 'Tvoi Dom'. We already have three 'Vegas' centers. We plan to build the fourth center, maybe the fifth. There is a big program for the development of Crocus, we plan to build two hotels - Marion, Holiday Inn - an office center and a residential building on its territory. In addition, we work in the framework of the state program - building stadiums and checkpoints at the border. There are many issues in which we are engaged quite successfully, as I believe.
- There are sports facilities, which are being built for the World Cup. Was this a political decision or a business task?
- I had a task to build them. The country's task for is to hold the World Cup at a high level to compensate for this chatter about Russia, which is constantly being discussed in the Western press. I think that this task of the government has political connotations. But the Cup must be held at a high organizational and technical level, which will be ensured by the quality of built stadiums.
- How do you assess the coming year for the business sector? Which industries will remain attractive?
- All industries will remain attractive to one degree or another. In connection with the fact that everyone is talking about the digital economy, computerization, attention to this sector is higher than attention to other sectors. But I think that retail - food, high fashion, mass market - has been undeservedly pushed into the background. This sector will be affected by computerization and online shopping to a lesser extent. Electronics, phones, goods that have a clear label, of course, will go into electronic commerce, but everything that one wants to touch, see, try on, I think, will remain in stores.