War in Ukraine lasts longer than a year, but the Russian capital trade network "Mere" is successfully expanding in Lithuania. Buyers here are looking for cheaper goods, so the reputation or values ​​of the business are of no concern to them, reports LNK news.

"If in Poland, in Germany, France "Mere" closed because it could not withstand the competition, but in Lithuania they live happily", said Petras Čepkauskas, head of the food department of "Pricer.lt".  

There are already 20 stores of this chain operating in the country.

According to "Pricer.lt" experts, if the situation regarding food prices does not change, the Russian chain of stores will not only expand, but will eventually become a serious market participant. Although inflation in Lithuania is decreasing for the fifth month in a row and currently stands at around 17%, "Pricer.lt" calculates that the average basket of the cheapest food products in February is still 17 euros more expensive compared to last year.

"The emptier the stomach, the less people are affected by some ideology", P. Čepkauskas thought about the popularity of this network.

"If Lithuanian goods are cheaper here, why not buy them", said the interlocutor.

"It is very bad that the prices are increasing. Wherever it's cheaper, that's where people go," the interviewer said.

"I'm going here for the first time. For now, out of curiosity," said the woman.

Communication specialists with many years of experience with retail chains explain that buyers with higher education and higher incomes have always paid attention to the company's values ​​or reputation. But for those who want to save money, it doesn't matter at all.

"The Lithuanian buyer is very price sensitive. And this is a recurring trend for many years. And if it is necessary to choose products with greatly increased prices, then buyers tend to ignore that reputation and value position. However, they are looking for better offers in terms of price", stated communication expert Berta Čaikauskaitė.

According to "Pricer.lt", compared to January, the prices of food products increased by 1 percent in February. or 80 cents. The most expensive are black bread, eggs, the cheapest baguette, sugar, tomato juice and chicken.

"Compared to last year, there are no cheaper goods in February at all," said P. Čepkauskas.

But there is another side of the coin. While people with lower incomes are looking for cheaper goods even in retail chains of Russian capital, the behavior of other consumers has not changed significantly.

"Price is the intersection of supply and demand. And if consumer appetite remains resistant, consumer behavior will not change as quickly as we thought, it is natural that there will not be many reasons for sellers to reduce those prices", explained Indrė Genytė-Pikčienė, Chief Economist of INVL Asset Management.

Economists admit that they expected the heating season or rising interest rates to affect retail trade turnover. This would lead to greater competition between retail chains and, at the same time, a faster drop in prices. But the opposite happened. Eurostat announces that retail trade in Lithuania in January, compared to December, increased by as much as 2 percent. This shows resistance to consumption. According to economists, although the current circumstances seem to be favorable for food prices to fall, the real impact will be felt by the population only in the summer of this year.

Source: LNK

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