May 18, 2009

Israeli Supermarkets Expand; Focus on Religious Consumer

Tel Aviv…KosherToday Israel Bureau Chief…Israeli supermarket chains are increasing the number of smaller convenience stores in main city centers and their suburbs despite the recession that is gripping the country. The Marker reports that Supersol will open a branch of its Supersol Express in the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim and is opening an additional branch in Tel Aviv. The Supersol Group operates 240 supermarkets and has opened some six of the convenience stores throughout the country. The Tiv Tam group, which is a nonkosher chain, is also considering the expanding of its ‘In the City’ chain today numbering 16 stores; 11 are in Tel Aviv and the others are in city’s suburbs.

But Israel’s supermarket industry is also focused on garnering a larger market share of the Charedi (very religious) market. The Supersol grocery chain has launched a campaign urging Israelis to observe the Shabbat as family time. It published a flier in last weekend’s Yediot Achronoth, Israel’s largest selling Israeli newspaper that included the prayers for Shabbat. The flier entitled ‘Friday is Reserved for my Family’ includes the Shabbat benedictions and some advice: “Talk, laugh and dine together. There’s one day of the week that you can sit down with the entire family.” The Marker reports that this effort started last July before the launch of the subsidiary Yesh chain which caters to the Charedi community. The newspaper reports that the Orthodox community has criticized controlling shareholder Nochi Dankner for allowing some of his businesses to allegedly violate the Shabbat.