Despite a failed offensive in Western Europe, Russian hard discounter Mere is not giving up on its international expansion plans. However, the focus has now shifted to Eastern European countries such as Serbia and Lithuania.
30 % cheaper
Last year, Mere’s attempts to gain a foothold in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom were halted as the chain closed all its stores there, officially due to supply problems caused by the war in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions.
That does not mean Mere is giving up on Europe completely: in Serbia, the chain more than doubled its store numbers in one year (from thirteen to thirty), Lebensmittel Zeitung reports. Sales there are said to have risen to 48 million euros, although the chain still lost 360,000 euros in Serbia last year. In Lithuania, where inflation is at record levels, Mere has about two dozen stores and last year’s turnover almost reached fifty million euros. Mere is on average 30 % cheaper than its Lithuanian competitors, LZ found out.
The discounter sees opportunities in Eastern Europe, because the retail market there is more fragmented and supply is smoother. Its stores there sell local products, but also sources from Belarus, Poland and, to a small extent, Russia. In the Russian home market, meanwhile, Mere’s sales are said to have increased by 40 %, to around 5 billion euros.