June 29, 2009

Kosher Retailers See a 10% Decrease in Sales due to Recession

New York…Sales of kosher foods are basically sound despite the recession but some stores say sales may be off by as much as 10%. In an interesting development, kosher seems to be faring better than natural and organic which in some areas is said to be off by 15% - 20%. Most of the retailers reached by KosherToday said that they have observed some fundamental changes in consumer habits. “While many customers are buying as usual, others are cutting back just enough to realize some savings,” said a Bergen County retailer. The same seems to be true in Brooklyn although natural growth is compensating for the recession related drop. “With a record 3500 births or so in one month recently at nearby Maimonides Hospital, people in this community are feeding more mouths,” said Alex, an assistant store manager in the Flatbush area. Despite growing competition in this area of Brooklyn, there have been no closings of grocery stores. Instead, stores are competing with many promotions and events and heavily discounting many basic staples. A major distributor said that despite the appearance of being recession-proof, some kosher venues are having “a hard time paying their bills.” He added that while it is never easy, these days it has become nearly impossible in some places.” Shopping in a West Side kosher grocery, Genie, a 30ish young Orthodox woman with two small children in tow, said: “I really buy what I need these days and hope that my husband keeps his job in a Midtown accounting firm.”