Supermarket shopping - Ilan Asayag - August 2011
Shoppers at a supermarket. The increase in the consumer price index for April was the lowest in over a decade. Photo by Ilan Asayag
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Super Pharm and Super-Sol will be lowering prices in Kiryat Shmona due to pressure by community organizers, after a price comparison article in TheMarker uncovered unfavorable prices in the northern city and the center of the country.

The group, called Zela - a Hebrew acronym for Youth for our City - sent letters to the two retail giants in protest when they discovered it was more expensive to purchase items in Kiryat Shmona. Zela approached the local Super Pharm franchise holder with TheMarker's findings, and the manager promised to bring local prices in line with those in central Israel, said Zela founder Avihay Shtern.

On September 9, TheMarker published a price survey conducted with the website PriceSal that found Super Pharm's prices were higher in Kiryat Shmona than in Modi'in or Kiryat Gat. Kiryat Shmona has only one drugstore, a Super Pharm branch, as opposed to the other cities, where the drugstores face competition.

As opposed to price comparisons that found differences of up to 30% between branches of Super-Sol in different cities, the differences at Super Pharm averaged only 4%. However, some products were as much as 33% more expensive. The local franchise holder responded that Super Pharm set maximum prices and sale prices for its stores, and that prices were being lowered in the wake of Zela's initiative.

Super-Sol also agreed to lower prices in Kiryat Shmona after Zela sent Nochi Dankner two letters, the organization said. "We thought that Dankner, who contributes so much to our community, would help us. They're taking advantage of the fact that residents are a captive audience, so the local branches are their most expensive format. Nochi Dankner was called 'valuable to Kiryat Shmona,' but in practice he's 'expensive in Kiryat Shmona' and his contributions are most likely to ease his conscience," said Shtern.

Minutes after TheMarker asked an IDB group spokesman for comment, Zela representatives received a call saying that the local My Super-Sol would adopt the prices of the cheaper Super-Sol Deal chain.