February 10, 2014

Israeli Consumers Cut Back Just as Passover Season Approaches

TEL AVIV — Steady price increases and some belt tightening by consumers have resulted in an appreciable decline in sales by Israel’s major supermarket chains including Shufersal, Mega, and Coop. Sales dropped  3.2% in January 2014 from January 2013. According to Globes, the FMCG category excludes meat sold at deli counters, fruits and vegetables, and many non-food items. The drop might therefore have been greater. The three national chains were hit in all segments. Food sales, which account for 76% of total sales, fell by 2.7%; sales of personal care products fell by 7.5%, and sales of beverages and cleaning supplies fell by 3.7%. Shufersal undertook an aggressive sales campaign in January. According to Ifat Business Information Ltd., Shufersal nearly doubled its advertising expenses in January, compared with the corresponding month.

Israeli sources told Kosher Today that smaller independent stores have been aggressively courting the supermarket customers and to some extent succeeding. Although there are no numbers as to what percentage of former supermarket shoppers now shop the independents, the sources said that the independents at least made up the 3.2% of the chains.