Supermarket Mere dubbed ‘Russian Lidl’ planning 300 UK stores – taking on discounters

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Russian food retailer Mere was launched in Siberia in 2008, going by the name Svetofor. It has since expanded across the world and now operates in countries including Italy, Spain and Bulgaria. Mere is now launching in the UK next month, with long-term plans to open around 300 supermarkets in the future.

Russian food supermarket Mere, which has 3,200 stores worldwide, expanded to Europe in 2018 and plans to dominate the UK were announced earlier this year.

It was recently announced that the supermarket chain has long-term plans to open hundreds more stores in the next eight to ten years, according to The Grocer.

It’s first shop in Preston’s Ribbleton is reportedly scheduled to open next month. 

Stores will also open in North Wales, South Wales and West Yorkshire before hopes to expand across the country.

Southern Scotland, Devon, Cardiff and Bradford are amongst possible future locations.

Mere is currently advertising for staff for both the Preston and Caldicot stores.

When the store openings were announced, Pavels Antonovs, Head of Buying at Mere UK said: “We are the gap in the market. We don’t have any competitors.

“Our model is no service and no marketing.

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“Some will understand us, some won’t. There are already around 30 businesses that will fill 70 percent of our shops.

“I have just now met with a manufacturer with a turnover of £150billion and we signed for eight SKUs.”

Mere is known to have adopted a ‘no-frills’ model of food shopping which sees suppliers deliver directly to its supermarket stores, which double up as the company’s warehouses.

This allows the supermarket to keep costs low for shoppers.

Each Mere store in the UK will be around 10,000 sq ft, including a walk-in chiller room and a huge freezer to allow multi-temperature ranges to be sold from the pallet they arrive on.

Stores are said to also only have eight members of staff, a further effort to keep costs low.

The company compares itself to Costco, but with no membership fee and no in store service.

In other supermarket news, Sainsbury’s recently announced it would be opening more Neighbourhood Hub stores, bringing the total to seven in the UK.

The new stores offer customers a larger selection of products to choose from as well as having a new store layout and an Argos integrated into the majority of them.

Upgrades to existing stores include those in Melbourne, Bilingshurst, Whitstable High Street and Penwortham.

New stores have also launched in areas including Woodhall Spa, Midhurst and Bishop’s Waltham.

Sainsbury’s Property Director, Patrick Dunne said: “Our newest hub stores look great and I’m sure out customers will enjoy doing more of their shopping closer to home.

“We’re continually investing in our store network and adopting our estate to ensure it best reflects our customers’ changing shopping habits and local demand.

“Our Neighbourhood Hubs have proved extremely popular and that has really motivated the team to open more for our customers through a combination of acquiring new sites and upgrading current stores.”

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