Mere store front

Source: Mere

Mere’s Preston store in 2021

Russian discounter Mere is drawing up plans to restart operations in the UK, a year after winding them down in the wake Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The hard discounter paused operations in a number of European countries for “economic reasons” following the invasion in February last year. In the UK, it meant the closure of a single store, in Preston, though the business had been planning 300.

The retailer is now recruiting in the UK again ahead of a planned relaunch.

In a post on LinkedIn this week, Mere UK MD Olena Solodka wrote: “We are hiring!”

Solodka appealed for applicants for a project manager role paying £50,000 a year. Mandatory requirements include “skills in crisis management” and “experience in solving complex and non-standard tasks”.

Mere was founded in 2009 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, where it trades as Svetofor. In 2021, it claimed to have 3,200 stores globally, with a footprint extending to Germany, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine.

In Europe, the business aimed to undercut Aldi and Lidl by up 30% with an ultra-hard discounter model that dispensed with customer service and required suppliers to deliver directly to stores.

Mere UK has remained registered at Companies House as TS Markt Ltd throughout Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with its offices in London.

Other requirements for the project manager role, which is also based in London, include five years’ experience of retail-related projects, the international fmcg market and developing startups from scratch. Knowledge of creating low-cost business processes is also a must.

Applicants are asked to email

Mere arrived in the UK with the opening of the Preston store in August 2021. It was already experiencing difficulty gaining traction with its model here, even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Some suppliers were put off by its terms, including payment only for products that are sold. As a result, Mere lacked many basic food lines and was planning adaptations to the model.