This news surprised the Austrians at the end of January: The supermarket brand “Merkur” will cease, the stores will now become “Billa Plus”
Preparations in the 144 “Merkur” stores for the renaming are already in full swing. Thousands of signs, handles and price markers have to be replaced. From April 1, the time has come for the stores to open only as “Billa Plus”.
Until the last traces of the former “Merkur” branding have really disappeared, it will still take a few weeks, explained Rewe spokesman Paul Pöttschacher in an interview conducted by “Heute”. So the transition will be rather smooth. The current lockdown in the eastern region has no effect on the changeover.
Rewe emphasizes that the range of services – such as freshly prepared salads and canteen – and assortment of the previous “Merkur” stores will be maintained and even expanded.
On the shelves, more emphasis is to be placed on regionality. At present, around 1,400 regional suppliers and producers are already under contract, and this number is to be increased in the future. The organic range is also to be massively expanded. To this end, a new brand, “Billa Bio”, will be introduced – as reported by “Heute”.
Like the 1,200 Billa stores already, Billa Plus is to sell only 100 percent fresh meat from turkey, chicken, beef including veal and pork of Austrian origin from May. “The implementation of this assortment decision was a tour de force,” Rewe explains.
At Billa, he says, it was a matter of working with partners to achieve sufficiently large delivery volumes. At Billa Plus, he says, the challenge was now even greater because the fresh meat and poultry assortment is broader and more diverse.
“We made a promise to our customers: we will be simpler as a family of brands, invest in customer benefits and have a plus for everyone. And we are keeping this promise,” emphasizes Marcel Haraszti, Chairman of Billa Merkur Austria (BMÖ).
And another treat: For Billa customers, 100 million Kaisersemmeln per year will now be converted to organic.
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