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Russian supermarket claiming to be cheaper than rivals opening in UK

Putin Aldi and Lidl out of business? Russian budget supermarket chain Svetofor that claims to be a THIRD cheaper than rivals is opening in UK

  • Svetofor, named Mere in Europe, reported to be opening first planned UK store
  • The retail chain says it costs up to 30% less than nation’s cheapest supermarkets
  • First store to open in Preston, with additional two in Wales and one in Castleford
  • Founded in 2009, chain has 3.2k stores globally and expanded to Europe in 2018

A Russian budget supermarket chain that claims to be a third cheaper than rivals such as Aldi and Lidl is opening in the UK.

Svetofor, which operates under the name Mere in Europe, says it costs up to 30 per cent less then the nation’s cheapest supermarkets.

The company is reported to be opening its first planned store in the UK at a former Nisa branch in Preston, Lancashire.

An additional three stores are also being planned – two in Wales, namely Mold and Caldicot, alongside one in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

Svetofor, which operates under the name Mere in Europe, says it costs up to 30 per cent less then the nation’s cheapest supermarkets (pictured: a Mere store)

Mere UK head of buying, Pavels Antonovs, told The Grocer: ‘We are the gap in the market. We don’t have any competitors. 

‘Our model is no service and no marketing.’

On its UK website, Mere states it is looking for suitable locations across the nation to expand its retail chain.

It says: ‘At the moment, despite coronavirus, we are actively involved with landlords, their representatives and agents with the aim to open our MERE retail stores ASAP.’

The business then lists locations of interest including South Scotland, Devon, Cardiff, Southampton, Stockport, Neath, Banbury, Selby, Bradford, Grantham, Kettering, Gloucester and Sheffield.

A description on the site, which does not yet reveal the price of its products, also says: ‘We are a fast-growing, ambitious team that is currently working intensively on the future of the company.

‘Our profile is the retail chain in the food sector that offers its customers good goods for little money. We work according to the motto “only lowest prices every day”.’

The chain adds that its goals are ‘satisfying customers through our best price-performance ratios’ as well as ‘fair, sustainable and long-term cooperation with producers, suppliers and service providers.’

Each store in the UK is estimated to have up to 1,200 products and only eight staff, counting a director, four cashiers and three delivery workers

The warehouse-styled branches will be approximately 10,000 sq ft with suppliers expected to deliver straight to the stores

Each store in the UK is estimated to have up to 1,200 products and only eight staff, counting a director, four cashiers and three delivery workers.

The warehouse-styled branches will be approximately 10,000 sq ft with suppliers expected to deliver straight to the stores.

Founded in Siberia in 2009, the business has 3,200 stores globally and expanded to Europe in 2018, opening in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia and Ukraine.

The announcement follows Lidl narrowly beating Aldi as the cheapest supermarket of 2020 with Waitrose coming in as the most expensive, according to a study.

Researchers tracked the price of 45 popular products such as Hovis bread, Knorr stock cubes and free-range eggs in eight major supermarkets for at least 100 days between January and December last year.

The average price of each item over the year and the total average cost of all 45 items in the ‘trolley’ – taking the weight and quality of items into account – was calculated by consumer group Which? 

The chain said: ‘At the moment, despite coronavirus, we are actively involved with landlords, their representatives and agents with the aim to open our MERE retail stores ASAP’

Lidl was the cheapest supermarket in the study, with the basket costing £42.67 on average.

Just 34p put Lidl ahead of its discount chain rival Aldi, with the latter’s basket of items costing an average of £43.01.

Asda was the third-cheapest supermarket with the same basket of items costing £48.71 on average – a difference of more than £5 when compared with Aldi or Lidl.

Waitrose was the most expensive supermarket in the study. The average cost of the 45 items was £68.69 – around 60 per cent or £26.02 more than a similar shop at Lidl.

However, Aldi was named as the cheapest supermarket in a more recent study by the same consumer group, which compared the cost of 20 essential items in each of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains in April.

The list includes branded items such as Cadbury Dairy Milk and Heinz Beanz, as well as own brand items such as onions, chicken drumsticks and milk.

The basket total at Aldi was found to be £8 less than Waitrose, which was priced up at £30.89. 

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