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Kazakhstan gets first Saks Fifth Avenue store

Saks Inc opened its first Saks Fifth Avenue store in Kazakhstan on Sunday, as the retailer seeks to tap a growing appetite for luxury in emerging markets.

The tri-level, 91,000-square-foot (8,450-square-meter) store is located in the Esentai Shopping Mall, the first of its kind in Kazakhstan, Saks said in a news release.

The mall is part of Esentai Park, a new development in Almaty that includes luxury residential and commercial towers as well as a five-star hotel that is expected to open next year.

The Saks store is being licensed by the VILED Group, a local company.

Oil- and uranium-producing Kazakhstan is Central Asia's largest economy. Foreign investors have poured more than $150 billion into the country during its two decades of independence from the old Soviet Union.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Dale Hudson)