Russian food discounter Mere expands further into Europe

Mere store in Germany
Foto: Mere

Mere, a hard-discounter from Russia, opens its third store in Germany and wants to expand further into Europe. The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus is an opportunity for the low-budget retailer.

 

Germany, Lithuania and Poland

In Germany, Russian discount supermarket chain Mere has opened its third store: the low-budget formula can now be found in the city of Halle. Earlier, the food discounter established itself in Leipzig and Zwickau. After almost a year of stagnation, Siberian parent company Torgservis seems to be continuing its expansion in Europe, reports Lebensmittel Zeitung.

 

Mere now also has plans in Lithuania and Poland, with announced openings "early 2020". The group is also expanding further in Belarus: Torgservis took its first steps outside Russia in 2017, under the name Svetofor ('traffic light' in Russian). Meanwhile, there are more than 30 branches.

 

More poverty, more customers

Since last year, Torgservis has been in the top 10 of largest Russian food retailers, with around 500 store openings in 2019 alone. This makes the company one of the fastest growing supermarket chains in the country, after market leader X5 Retail Group and Magnit. The corona crisis could even give a new boost: around 20% of the Russian population is already confronted with poverty, says the ceo, and declining purchasing power and consumer confidence could further increase the hard-discounter's customer base.

 

More and more Russian retailers are finding their way to Europe: at the beginning of March (albeit pre-corona crisis), VkusVill, a fast-growing Russian food retailer, announced concrete plans to open a store in the Netherlands and also have Paris in mind. Wildberries, Russia's largest e-commerce player, had already announced its intention to conquer Europe via Poland.