December 15, 2014

Kosher Community Upgrades Chanukah to New Levels

BROOKLYN, NY — It isn’t quite like Passover when stores completely redo their stores, but in many stores this year there is a special aisle with Chanukah goodies, including menorahs, olive oil, candies, pastries and more. Others are decorating aisles with streamers full of dreidels and menorahs. The eight-day holiday which begins Tuesday night is emerging as a major profit center for kosher stores, not to speak of the toy, Judaica, and party goods stores as well as restaurants that are also cashing in on what some are calling the growing commercialization of Chanukah. Many retailers are offering complete meals for parties, some even adding waiters to the package.

The upgrade of Chanukah into a major holiday over the past few years has resulted in increased sales for some food retailers of as much as 25% over a regular 8-day period. “What is happening at Chanukah,” said one retailer, “is nothing short of remarkable, making it the third most lucrative time of the year (preceded by Passover and the High Holy Days).” One wholesaler guessed that Chanukah sales represent nearly 10% of annual kosher food sales. A major driver of sales is the gift market which in 2013 was said to have grown by nearly 20%.