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Russian deep-discount supermarket heads for Belgium

No frills, not even shelves. A Mere supermarket in Lithuania. © Svetofor

The shopping streets of Belgium could soon be home to a new arrival: the Russian-owned deep-discount supermarket chain Mere.

The company has announced it aims to open ten stores by the end of the year.

The deep-discount concept is well-known in Belgium, with stores like Smatch, Aldi and Lidl. No frills, stark décor, few major brands and low prices. No sushi bars, no avocado and prawn sandwiches, just basic products at basic prices.

Mere currently has 2,000 outlets in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, where it goes under the ensign Svetofor. In addition, it has started opening stores under the Mere name in Romania, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Our company works in Belgium since 2020 and we are planning to develop rhythmically on the market according to the requests and needs of the customers. We are planning to open 10 supermarkets in Belgium in 2021,” the company says on its Belgian website.

Right now the company is seeking tenancy agreements for premises, an agent to track down locations for new stores, and suppliers to provide content.

In their call to suppliers, the company makes clear its main aim: to be cheaper than competitors.

The Mere stores will mainly sell basic products such as food, household products and animal nutrition, in combination with production surpluses,” said Stefan Van Rompaey of the specialist industry website RetailDetail, who first broke the news.

Compare it with the mix of an 80s Aldi and an outlet chain that sells stock lots. About 1,500 basic products will be displayed on pallets. Unlike Lidl and Aldi, customers do not have to look for well-known brands, because Mere works with manufacturers that are unknown to us.”

As well as Belgium, Mere intends to expand into Austria, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

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