(Reuters) – Sergei Sobyanin, who is seeking re-election as Moscow’s mayor, named the Magnit and X5 chains in a statement saying he had organised inspections of supermarkets and that shops breaking sanitary rules should be shut.
Sobyanin, who is acting mayor in the approach to the election on Sept. 8, said he had ordered the checks due to a spread of viral infections in the Russian capital.
An examination of outlets belonging to X5 had uncovered violations that led authorities to fine them 11.4 million roubles ($347,000) and a recommendation that 14 shops be shut, the statement on the mayor’s website said.
It also quoted Moscow’s consumer watchdog Yelena Andreyeva as saying 39 complaints had been filed against Magnit, which has 43 supermarkets in Moscow and like X5 is a nationwide chain.
The statement, which did not name any other supermarkets, did not give details of the virus or the nature of the infringements.
Magnit, which has over 7,000 stores overall, declined to comment. X5, which has over 4,000 stores and a larger presence in Moscow than Magnit, was not immediately available to comment.
Magnit’s shares fell nearly 2 percent in Moscow, while shares of X5 closed flat in London.
Analyst Mikhail Terentiev of Otkritie said on Monday the impact on the retailers was likely to be only small and temporary.
“Probes into retailers’ compliance with sanitary and other rules are not unusual, though normally they cover fewer stores, are less comprehensive, and receive less media coverage,” Terentiev said.
“We also think that the event will not affect Magnit’s plans to boost its presence in Moscow and the Moscow region,” he added.