NEW YORK -- By all accounts, the recently completed holiday season that began with Rosh Hashanah was extremely successful. Although some retailers said that they were still reviewing sales data, several guessed gains of 10%-12% with a few independents quoting figures as high as 20%. There was agreement however that kosher food sales for the Fall holidays were second only to Passover. Several of the retailers said that the holiday sales were 15% - 20% of their year-round sales with Passover as much as 30% - 40%.
Expected shortages for kosher poultry were not realized although customers on average paid 15% more than they did last year with some blaming the shutdown of Mehadrin/Vineland. Others said that sharp increases in commodity prices for corn, the major feed for poultry, were the culprits. The higher commodity prices also had an effect on challah and baked goods, according to some in the industry.
When asked if the economy was still a factor in the purchasing habits of consumers, one owner said: “Definitely, those who were affected a few years ago have still not come back, but those that are doing well are spending more liberally.” Many industry officials, who always look at sales in the context of the calendar, said that customers kept making repeat visits “to prepare for Yom Tov, then Shabbos, then Yom Tov and so forth.” They said that the more frequent visits spelled more sales.