In France, as is the case in Belgium, Russian hard-discounter Mere has not yet succeeded in putting its ambitions into practice. French media report that the chain has not yet taken a single tangible step towards opening its stores, which means that this month's deadline has gone up in smoke.
Not a single permit applied for so far
Only last month, Mere announced its plans to enter the French market, which seemed to be quite concrete: three locations were supposed to be opening as early as October. Later, all major French cities would get a store.
However, it now appears that Mere is having trouble putting its words into action. Newspaper Le Parisien noted that Mere has not yet submitted the necessary applications to make the stores a reality in any of the municipalities. In other words, the first openings will not take place until the end of the year at the earliest, possibly not even until 2022, as the process of obtaining the required permits can easily take two months. A survey by the same paper shows that in none of the listed municipalities, a representative of Mere has turned up to put the process in motion.
Opwijk missed opening deadline
It is somewhat reminiscent of the Belgian situation: when it was announced at the beginning of this year that Mere would be opening its first branch in Opwijk, near Brussels, it quickly became evident that the local authority had not yet received a single application.
They have since overcome that hurdle, but the next steps are proving to take time. The original deadline - a grand opening in September - was missed. And RetailDetail could confirm that there was still a lot of work to be done on-site to furnish the store.
Also, there is the question of how quickly the store could be supplied before receiving its first customers. Mere applies very strict conditions for its suppliers: they have to offer their goods significantly cheaper than the competition (in France, they have to be 20 to 30 % cheaper), and they are responsible for the delivery and taking back unsold goods. This already led to the delay of the opening of the first British store because there were simply not enough products on the shelves.