Mere: when is budget Russian supermarket coming to UK, where will it be, and is it really 30% cheaper than Aldi?

Mere plans to open at least 200 self-service stores across the UK in the next five years to rival Lidl, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and more

A budget supermarket chain formed in Europe has revealed plans to open at least 200 stores in the UK over the next five years.

Mere will rival other food discounters Aldi and Lidl in the UK market and claims to be a third cheaper than its German competitors.

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Discount supermarket chain Mere plans to open at least 200 self-service stores across the UK in the next five years. (Pic: Getty)

Here’s all you need to know about Mere…

What is Mere?

Founded in Siberia, Russia, in 2009, the company - known in its home country as Svetofor - has been opening stores across Europe under the Mere name since 2018.

The company already has stores in Germany, Poland, Latvia, Ukraine, Romania and Lithuania and is expanding into the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria.

Mere is known to have adopted a ‘no-frills’ model of food shopping which sees suppliers deliver directly to its supermarket stores, which double up as the company’s warehouses.

It already has 3,200 stores internationally and is looking to expand into the UK market.

What are Mere stores like?

Each Mere store in the UK will be around 10,000 sq ft, include a walk-in chiller room and a huge freezer to allow multi-temperature ranges to be sold directly from the pallet they arrive on.

There is little in the way of shopping experience, with the company priding itself on simplicity and likening its model to Costco but with no membership fee and no in-store service.

Each store will have a maximum of 1,200 SKUs - different items on sale - which is slightly less than Aldi (1,400 SKUs) and much less than more traditional supermarkets in the UK.

There will only be eight members of staff in store - a director, four cashiers and three who handle deliveries.

Why is Mere coming to the UK?

Due to its simplicity, Mere is able to offer customers lower prices.

Mere UK head of buying Pavels Antonovs said prices will be between 20 and 30 percent cheaper than the other budget supermarkets already established in the UK.

Antonovs said: “We are the gap in the market. We don’t have any competitors. Our model is no service and no marketing.

“Some will understand us, some won’t. There are already around 30 businesses that will 70% fill our shops.

“I have just now met with a manufacturer with a turnover of £150m and we signed for eight SKUs.

“On 13 March, we opened a store in Latvia and the queue outside was 570 people. In Germany, when we opened our first store, it had been bought out [of stock] in two days.”

Where is Mere opening stores in the UK?

Mere will open its first store in the UK in Ribbleton, Preston, on the site of an old Nisa.

From here it plans on opening another store in Castleford and two in Wales, in Mold and Caldicot, before expanding into different areas of the UK.

UK locations mooted include Banbury, Bradford, Cardiff, Devon, Grantham, Kettering, Neath, Selby, Sheffield, Southampton, Stockport and southern cities of Scotland.

When is Mere opening stores in the UK?

Mere will be opening its first store in the UK in July 2021 in Preston.

It plans to open at least 200 self-service stores across the UK in the next five years.