‘Russian Lidl’ supermarket chain Mere ‘closes UK store after invasion of Ukraine’

Mere is said to have told suppliers his decision to close his Preston store and said his UK expansion plans are on hold due to the “political situation” in Russia and Ukraine

Mere opened its first store in Preston in August 2021
Mere opened its first store in Preston in August 2021

Russian supermarket chain Mere closes its first store in the UK after the invasion of Ukraine reportedly last week.

The discounter – known as the “Russian version of Lidl” – has also reportedly halted plans to open more stores.

Mere reportedly informed suppliers of his decision to close, saying his UK expansion plans have been halted due to the “political situation” in China Russia and Ukraine.

The retailer trading as Svetofor in Russiabilled itself as cheaper than any other store – and said its products cost 30% less than Aldi and Lidl.

The first UK store opened in Preston in August 2021.

Mere had plans to expand to 300 stores in the UK


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But staff at the Preston store were informed this week that the store will close in two weeks, according to The Grocer.

The trade magazine claims that even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mere was struggling to get his model into the UK, as suppliers were reportedly put off by only getting paid if the products sold.

But the situation in Ukraine is said to have exacerbated this and made it difficult for them to trade.

Have you visited Mere and would you be sad to see it nearby? Let us know:

Mere had and was planning to open several more stores in the UK by this spring open 300 shops here finally – including two in Wales, at Mold and Caldicot, and another at Castleford in the north of England.

The company had even touted more store openings in January this year, saying it would bring “a much better and improved offering to our customers than when we started.”

The Russian chain has 3,200 branches internationally, was founded in 2009 and opened its first European Mere store in 2018.

It now trades in Germany – where rival Aldi started – and in Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine.

Mere Stores double as warehouses, with images from other locations across Europe showing items on pallets.

General director Pavels Antonovs had previously said that Mere’s prices will undercut even the cheapest supermarkets.

Mr Antonovs said: “We are the niche in the market. We have no competitors.

“Our model is not a service and not a marketing.”

The mirror had a preview of what the very first UK mere store looks like like last summer and it was extremely back-to-basic.

The suppliers ship directly to the stores, which reduces the cost of stocking items elsewhere – and the store had about eight employees.

Goods are stacked on pallets on the floor and shoppers grab what they want.

The downside is that this will add a bit to your shopping spree. In a regular supermarket, where everything is unpacked on the shelves, it’s easy to see what you’re looking for.

In Mere, you have to get up close and personal with many palettes to see what they contain.

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