A seriously cheap supermarket - dubbed the 'Russian Lidl' - is set to open its first UK store this week.
Shoppers in Preston will be the first to step inside a Mere store in the UK when it opens its doors at 10am on Saturday.
Mere UK's head of buying, Pavels Antonovs, said that the brand will undercut the UK's cheapest supermarkets by 20-30 percent.
Although the Preston store will be the UK's first Mere outlet, the company told The Grocer it has a second store opening in a month or so in Caldicot, as well as plans to open two more this year in Castleford and Mold.
Mere has said it hopes to have around 300 UK stores within a decade and has previously said it has its eyes set on sites in Devon, Stockport, Neath, Banbury, Selby, Bradford, Middlesbrough, Grantham, Kettering, Plymouth, Beckenham, Gloucester, Northampton, Cardiff, Oswestry, Barnsley, Sheffield, Exeter, Stretford, Southampton, south Scotland and Wales.
Antonovs said: "We are the gap in the market. We don't have any competitors.
"Our model is no service and no marketing."
The model sees suppliers deliver directly to the stores, which are also warehouses. They will measure around 10,000 square foot, and will have walk-in chiller rooms and a huge freezer.
This means that multi-temperature ranges will be sold straight from the pallet.
Each store will stock a maximum of 1,200 different items - or SKUs (stock-keeping units). That's slightly lower than rivals Aldi, which carries 1,400 SKUs, and a lot lower than traditional supermarkets, which can have up to 40,000.
Mere's business model means that all items stocked are bought from suppliers on a 'sale or return basis' - meaning the company only pays for what it actually sells.
However, this way of doing things has meant that some suppliers have been a bit wary of signing up to offer their stock.
One supplier told The Grocer this way of doing things was 'rare' in large-scale food retail.
Antonovs added: "Some will understand us, some won't. There are already around 30 business that will 70 percent fill our shops.
"I have just now met with a manufacturer with a turnover of £150m and we signed for eight SKUs.
"On 13 March, we opened a store in Latvia and the queue outside was 570 people. In Germany, when we opened our first store, it had been bought out [of stock] in two days."
Mere opens at 198 Miller Road, Ribbleton, Preston, PR2 6NH this Saturday at 10am.
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: UK News
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