Russian discounter Mere pulling out of UK
Siberian discounter Mere is halting its European expansion plans and pulling out of the UK following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In spring 2021, Mere, which operates under the name Svetofor in its own country, announced major expansion plans for its ultra-low price chain in Europe.
Mere said it planned to open hundreds of branches across Europe and secured several locations in Belgium, the UK, Spain and France, only a handful of which opened.
Mere has now told employees and suppliers that it is closing its only UK store in Preston in two weeks’ time, with other planned openings cancelled, and referred to the “political situation” in Ukraine.
The discounter had already struggled to find suppliers as it only buys products if it can sell them 20 to 30% cheaper than Aldi and Lidl. Manufacturers must deliver their products to the shops themselves and are only paid for what is sold.
Mere is also closing its eight stores in Spain, less than a year after entering the market. In France, it was due to open its first shop in Thionville, north of Metz, but the local mayor has refused to grant a permit.