Russia's MERE is continuing its expansion across Europe, with the news that the discounter plans to have 15 stores operational in Serbia by the end of April, or the beginning of May at the latest.
The Minister for Trade, Telecommunications and Tourism, Tatjana Matić, told the Tanjug news agency that MERE plans to open a number of stores in Kruševac and Subotica this month, followed by additional openings in Kraljevo and Vršac during February.
Matic said that the arrival of one of Russia's largest discounters in Serbia is likely to increase competition in the sector and contribute to the modernisation of the Serbian retail network.
MERE operates more than 2,000 stores in Russia under the name Svetofor, which are also present in Belarus and Ukraine. Since 2015, the discounter has also operated stores in Germany, Poland, and Romania, and has plans to open stores in the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, and Spain.
The first MERE store in Serbia, located in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica, was formally opened in December 2020.
At the opening, company PR Antonela Bijelić Milojica told Tanjug that prices on offer will be 20%-30% lower compared to the current market prices.
Although the stores are Russian owned, she pointed out that this does not mean the group will sell only Russian products. In fact, initially it will focus on cooperation with small Serbian producers, while also offering products from other markets in which MERE is present.
Speaking separately to B92, Bijelić Milojica revealed that MERE plans to open at least 100 stores in Serbia with an average size of 1,000 square metres.
She explained that the company is eying possible locations throughout Serbia, adding that their strategy is not to build new sites from scratch, but rather find existing facilities that meet certain criteria.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine