Why the Russian hard-discounter “Mere” is finally no longer living in Aube

The announcement of the installation of a supermarket at very low prices, Mere, a group of Russian origin, in Pont-Sainte-Marie in Aube, aroused curiosity. Eventually, the band decided to give up their lease. A few months after the start of the war in Ukraine.

The Mere brand cuts prices like no other, especially on food, but the inhabitants of Aube will never see its color. This very, very cheap supermarket, a “hard discounter” in jargon, has announced its arrival in France at the end of 2021. The Russian group indicated that three locations are planned in the Grand Est in 2022, including one in Aube in Pont-Sainte-Marie, land known for its factory outlets. “Our stores can help maintain the budget of many families significantly. The territory of the Grand Est region was chosen (sic) to start the development of the network”, can we read in the press release.

The location was even chosen, in an area until now reserved for textile brands. Between two non-label clothing retailers and an indoor sports store. Google Maps has already referenced it in its maps. The location is rented. A month and a half ago, in April 2022, some traders even saw semi-trailers delivering equipment like trolleys, due to the opening of the supermarket. But since then, nothing. Curtain.

Managers of nearby stores confirmed the cancellation of the project. “It was cancelled. They closed the lease. The cell is rented again, we’ve known each other for a few months, testifies a sector manager who wishes to remain anonymous. He confirms that a Russian store under the brand “Mere”, the equivalent of a Liddl or Aldi, “but 30% cheaper than these brands”, will open. The places are sold even if we believe the announcement of a set with a price of 6.9 million euros at the planned address.

This is a very aggressive concept. But I prefer when the cells are full”, identifies a nearby vendor. “In Aube, it’s over, nationally, I don’t know”, asked the manager. Two other cities are on the list, including Thionville on the Moselle. The war in Ukraine will not be a major factor in this abandonment. It was complicated before the war, provoke the main characters.

“I found out about it from the owner of the place. It was finished and buried in a month and a half, said a manager who works at the building in question. It was announced, but before it was a fabric store, so we had to change the destination of the place. I don’t think the neighborhood is happy. But setting up a business is better than a vacuum. Then, people are still worried. I don’t know, I asked. They have equipment installed. They rented the building. They brought carts.”

Everything is ready. A nearby manager even saw the arrival of equipment from the Mere brand. “Three semi-trailers were there. They have Fenwicks, freezers, and parking carts. We were surprised. I returned the room, before the first detention, it was 900 m2. The war in Ukraine did not help. We have also developed a suitable strategy to attract these clients to us.” From “mass market”, meaning crushed price.

VIDEO: report hard discount supermarkets coming to Germany.

The mayor (Modem) of Pont-Sainte-Marie, Pascal Landréat, gave us his explanation on June 29. “We received the project leaders at the town hall, but they did not contact us in advance. I told them that this area is dedicated to factory outlets, so it is not a suitable place. I don’t want them to live here. It has nothing to do with the Russia Ukraine conflict. Their business does not go to factory outlets“.

Mere announced in the summer of 2021 its arrival in France with three stores planned for October in Pont-Sainte-Marie (Aube), Sainte-Marguerite (Vosges) and Thionville (Moselle). “This deadline has been postponed due to delays, for a new opening at the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.referred to our colleagues from LSA, Ie consumer magazine in France.

Contact with the brand is impossible. Le Figaro said that Mere, The subsidiary of the Svetofor group, which originates from Krasnoïarsk, in Siberia (7,000 km from Pont-Sainte-Marie) is a mystery. On its website, we find that the group, founded in 2009, argues that “stores do not have shelves, counters, vendors. Goods are sold from pallets or crates. This format is called no-frills”.

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