The Russian supermarket chain MERE is about to enter the Serbian retail market.
MERE is a food discount chain and has plans to become one of the largest retail chains in the country.
MERE is an affiliate of the Russian Torgservis Group, founded in 2009, which currently operates in more than 800 locations across Russia under the Svetofor brand and is the third-largest chain after X5 and Magnit.
“So far, we have opened 1,500 discount supermarkets and operate in 10 countries. The time has come to expand our business to the Serbian market with at least 100 supermarkets which will span about 1,000 square metres on average. We plan to work directly with Serbian producers, implement strict quality control and our prices will be 20 percent lower than the average in the Serbian market,” said the Russian company’s branch in Serbia.
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MERE was forced to close its outlets in Germany because it could not meet demand due to supply problems. In Serbia, MERE would be also offering a number of Serbian-made products in its outlets.
In addition to Serbia, the company plans to expand its business to the Greek market. MERE discount stores cover an area of 800 to 1,200 square metres and offer from 1,500 to 2,000 various items.
Sasa Djogovic, an associate of the Market Research Institute, believes that MERE will not have any problems to fit into Serbia because, as he says, of a strong Russian sentiment here.
“Depending on MERE’s strategy and the way they plan to expand, I believe that the chain will gradually conquer our market. I assume it will start first in Belgrade and other large cities,” Djogovic told Danas.
He reminds that the retail market in Serbia is currently quite segmented with the biggest stakeholders being Dehaize, Idea, Mercator, DIS, and recently Lidl, but that the Russians will manage to position themselves.
“It will take time for them to expand, but I believe that they will succeed thanks to the sentiment that exists here towards Russia, and wide acceptance of everything Russian,” Djogovic notes.
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