Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Adar 5767 - February 21, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Rise in Purim Sales

By R. Gil

The biggest grocery buying spree of the year in the chareidi community in Israel starts shortly before Rosh Chodesh Adar. The early-birds already set out on Purim-purchasing missions last weekend, but the peak comes the week before the holiday.

Purim is a real reason to celebrate at all of the supermarkets. Second only to Pesach in sales volume, the Purim season generates the biggest rush of the year. Bar Kol is anticipating a 50 percent increase in sales during the first two weeks of Adar. Shefa Shuk forecasts 25-30 percent growth above average and Alef confirms that business will increase demonstrably. All of the supermarkets are suggesting that we drop by for a visit.

Meanwhile the cash registers are very quiet in the general population, where the number-two holiday in terms of sales is Rosh Hashonoh. There the shlach monos on display — if they have any — include gifts instead of food items, and therefore buyer traffic is at near-normal levels. Shefa Shuk notes a 5-10 percent increase in sales at its secular branches, which may be due to the chareidi consumers who shop there.

"The branches are ready for the rush with baskets, new packaging materials and a large assortment of sweets and canned goods," says Ayal Diamant, director of trade and marketing at Bar Kol. Purim shopping is the largest purchase of the year in terms of quantity (for Pesach, consumers buy fewer items at a higher cost) and forces us to make the necessary preparations. "We were ready in advance to take in goods and to lay in extra stocks to prevent the annual repetition of shortages in seasonal products that become irrelevant because of chometz," notes Alef management.

Neither is the management of Shefa Shuk taking any chances. By Shvat they were already getting ready for Purim. "Every year there is a certain shortage. In order to prevent it we are working to make goods available on the shelves six weeks before Purim."

"On Purim, everything sitting on the shelves gets snatched up," says Diamant. "Especially the small containers, such as the 50-gram Nescafe cans and small cans of fruit. Even the boxed chocolates, which are not in demand in the general sector, are still a hit. The low price is the determining factor, and of 20,000-30,000 boxes no trace remains."

He says that besides small baskets, the biggest sellers are 187-ml bottles of wine, 100-gram bars of halva (over 50,000 bars in two weeks — ten times the amount sold in a regular month) and 100-gram cans of tuna spread. In recent years there has been greater demand for ready-made packages prepared by the leading companies.

Shefa Shuk notes the price of the hottest item, small bottles of wine, has risen (in part due to the increased deposit), bringing down demand. The manufacturers have nearly stopped making them and have switched to bigger bottles, says the store management.

The primary goal is to lure as many shoppers as possible to the store. "The stores will be packed anyway. The only question is who will attract the most customers," says Shefa Shuk. Since low prices has become the message conveyed by all of the supermarkets another distinction must be sought.

"Our day-to-day war is over prices," says the Bar Kol management. "Everyone compares prices with everyone else and constantly matches the competition. Therefore another advantage is created at the chain. By us it's the Purim campaign of giving out wine with purchases above 50 shekels worth of products from the major suppliers. We have 70,000- 100,000 bottles of wine at our disposal. The uniqueness of Bar Kol is the enormous and bewildering assortment of products, in additional to the top kashrus of all of the products, meaning children can be sent without worrying about halachic matters."

Alef is not out to find new ways to stand apart and claims to offer the lowest prices. "We pledge to be the least expensive at every point in time and during Purim to provide the lowest price experience."

Whatever you do, don't forget: everyone will be glad to help make you happy on Purim as long as you are sure to make them happy, too...


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