Now the Russians want to muscle in on the Lidl no frills market

‘Russian Lidl’ Mere to open in 250 places – but not where there’s already a discount shop

Discount shop Mere faces stiff competition from the likes of existing brands Aldi and Lidl, research showsmirror

A branch of Mere
New supermarket needs to break the grip of Aldi and Lidl to do well in many areas

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A Russian supermarket chain that wants to take on the British food giants may struggle to find good spots to open.

Mere, dubbed “the Russian Lidl’, plans to open more than 300 stores in the UK within ten years.

It has said it will open stores in spots where there is no discounted food shop.

The problem is there are very few places where an existing budget supermarket chain hasn’t already opened, according to The Grocer magazine.

But if it doesn’t mind being near a Lidl or an Aldi, Mere has more than 250 locations to chose from.

A branch of Mere
The stripped-back shopping experience is meant to keep prices down

Mere, which trades as Svetofor in Russia, has an extreme no-frills business model.

Its shops are huge warehouses with goods stacked up on pallets. Shoppers just take items directly from the pallets – a bit like a cash and carry, but for individuals not businesses.


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As well as fresh food, existing Mere shops in Europe also have chilled and frozen ranges – and just eight staff.

Shops will have around 1,200 items, but won’t sell things like newspapers, magazines and other premium, branded goods.

A branch of Mere in Poland
Mere is already a well-known brand on the continent (Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

This helps it keep prices right down, and it claims it can undercut cheap supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl by up to 30%.

But speaking to The Grocer, CACI senior location planning consultant Charlotte King said there were “very few pockets of opportunity available for expansion” for Mere.

But CACI has found 160 good locations for Mere, where it faces no competition from existing discount supermarkets.

The locations needed stores with a ground floor size of at least 10,000 sq ft and a local population of at least 60,000.

A branch of Mere
Mere’s distinctive red and yellow colour scheme (Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

It has located another 100 possible locations where Aldi and Lidl operate already.

Mere is already putting its money where its mouth is, and is hiring staff for stores it has planned in Preston, Lancashire, and Caldicot, Wales. It wants to open four UK stores this year, starting with Preston next month, then Caldicot, Castleford in West Yorkshire and Mold in Wales.

Mere is being smart and testing a variety of areas to see which it suits best, King said.

For example, Preston and Castleford are urban areas with high numbers of families on a budget. But Caldicot and Mold are more affluent, rural areas with many richer retired people.

Mere is also considering opening stores in Devon, Stockport, Neath, Banbury, Selby, Bradford, Middlesbrough, Grantham, Kettering, Plymouth, Beckenham, Gloucester, Northampton, Cardiff, Oswestry, Barnsley, Sheffield, Exeter, Stretford, Southampton and south Scotland.

Svetofor has about 3,200 stores internationally and has been running in Europe since 2018. It already has stores in Germany, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine.

As well as the UK, it plans to soon expand in Italy, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria.76516486337

A Mere spokesperson has been approached for comment.

Earlier this month the Mirror reported another discount store chain, which only opened its first shop last year, has announced plans to open 20 more outlets and create 200 jobs.

MaxiSaver, which could rival mainstream budget retailer Poundstretcher, opened its first branch last August in Hinckley, Leicestershire.


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All Comments

  1. TEtellbe1 HR AGOCome to Blackpool pleaseREPLY 1SHAREFLAG
    • MOmoggy51 HR AGOBeckenham on their list. Apart from floor space, seems they will also need parking spaces, if people are picking big bags of food or whatever. Bus stop outside might be handy.REPLY 0SHAREFLAG
      • DIdiscas1 HR AGONope! Food could be poisonedREPLY 0SHAREFLAG
        • DEDees3 HRS AGOWho on earth wants a Russian supermarket…fresh novochok for sale…microwaveable!REPLY 1SHAREFLAG

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