Russian supermarket Mere pulls out of UK following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Russian discount supermarket Mere is set to close its first UK store and halt all plans for further openings in the country.

According to The Grocer,  the grocer informed all its suppliers on 3 March that their UK ambitions were on hold due to the “political situation” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In-store employees were also notified that the store is set to close in two weeks.

Mere opened its Preston store in summer 2021 and planned several more openings for this spring with a long-term ambition to build a UK portfolio of about 300 branches within a decade.

READ MORE: Mere to launch over 300 UK stores

The grocer was founded in 2009 in Russia but has since grown to about 3,000 stores globally.

The supermarket’s extreme low-cost model aims to undercut Lidl and Aldi by up to 30%.

The model includes having suppliers deliver directly to its store, displaying goods directly on the pallets on which they arrive and keeping staff levels low by providing no customer service aside from staffed checkouts.

“As a business that wishes to trade in the UK, I cannot think of a worse scenario than being Russian owned,” Shore Capital retail analyst Clive Black said.

“As for shoppers, again if they knew Mere was Russian-owned, as things stand as a pariah state the rush may only be for the exit.”

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