March 24, 2014

SPECIAL PRE-PASSOVER COVERAGE

Calendar Bodes Well for Strong Sales, But Some Reeling from Last Year’s Calendar
 

NEW YORK — Kosher food industry experts say that the “late” Passover this year should spell stronger sales. Indeed, as stores opened their Passover aisles this week, the prognosis was for a stellar year but some distributors expressed caution given last year’s weaker than normal sales in some secondary kosher markets. The calendar, they say, is traditionally a barometer of sales and the March date for Passover in 2013 may have been somewhat responsible for the sluggish sales. This year, which in many markets comes after Spring break and more young people coming home for Passover should mean healthier sales. Yet, some retailers were more cautious and cut back on their Passover orders. Passover remains the most widely celebrated holiday on the Jewish calendar with an estimated 70% of American Jews participating in at least one Passover Seder. Large numbers of non-Jews participate in a Seder including a number of Christian churches that serve Matzoh, grape juice and other Passover foods.

To some, Passover 2014 will be a litmus test whether there has been a dramatic shift in the Passover retail picture. Strong sales this year will negate any perception that the decline in sales in some of the secondary markets in 2013 is permanent due to demographic changes and even a decline of religious observance. For the purveyors and distributors, the Passover market may be a tale of two cities as sales are expected to increase by as much as 12% in some of the major markets.