Russian discounter Mere is closing its only Belgian store

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Mere, the Russian “superdiscounter” that was planning an invasion of Western Europe, is closing its only Belgian store just four months after opening. The chain claims it is still eyeing ten stores in the country, but its Western plans have repeatedly been seriously hit, RetailDetail.eu reports.

Mere’s troubled story in Belgium takes a new turn: the first (and, for now, only) store is closing next month, just four months after opening in June. It remains to be seen if there will be much selling in the last few days as suppliers have been instructed to come and collect all their products starting next week.

However, the Russian discounter is still combative: according to its own statement on Facebook, it still plans to open at least ten stores in major Belgian cities. Whether they will actually open remains to be seen: the initial ambition to open ten stores almost at once in 2021 fell through. Moreover, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the company also closed all its British and Spanish stores and halted its plans in France.

A lot of noise for nothing?

Last year, Mere announced its intention to come to Belgium as well, with stores in Couvin, Flémalle and Opwijk “already secured”. The former failed to obtain the necessary permits, the latter was never heard from again, but the shop in Opwijk, near Brussels, suddenly opened its doors this year – somewhat surprisingly, so soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The “no-compromise price fighter” has his own style, forcing suppliers to deliver a quarter cheaper than competing discounters. Moreover, they have to take back unsold stock. The offer therefore remained very limited, and the store in Belgium never became a big magnet for customers.