Protests Driving Super-Sol to Cut 15% of Headquarters Staff

Grocery chain was one of the primary targets of last summer's protests over the cost of living in Israel.

Super-Sol is doing away with 15% of its administrative workers following last summer's social protest, which targeted high food prices and, in particular, the large grocery store chain, incoming CEO Itzik Abercohen announced.

"Following the protest, we invested a lot of work in making the businesses more efficient," he said. In total, the company plans to drop 60 to 80 workers from its headquarters - 15% of the total staff.

Protests - Meyer - 19.3.12
Protests last summer. Tali Meyer

"At the outlets, we're hiring fewer people and allowing current employees to take early retirement," he added. "I haven't fired a single person."

Abercohen took up his post in January, replacing CEO Effie Rosenhaus. Since then, his goal has been to bring back the supermarket chain's profits.

During Rosenhaus' era, the chain had chosen not to close branches that were losing money, fearing that freeing up its premises would give private supermarkets a chance to take them over.

This year, though, the chain will be closing a few branches, "like every established company in the world that conducts annual calculations," said Abercohen.

Abercohen - Faraj - 19.3.12
Incoming Super-Sol CEO Itzik Abercohen Sivan Faraj

In October, during the peak of the consumer protest, Super-Sol launched a new, inexpensive brand of cheaper products, named "The White Line." Despite the chain's declaration that these 80 or so products would be sold at all the chain's stores through the end of 2011, they are no longer available at all branches, and the line ultimately included fewer products.

Abercohen admitted that the company hadn't put enough thought into its initial announcement, but said the products would be given a more prominent place in the company's stores.

"By the end of the year, it'll include 100 products," he said.

He didn't hide his criticism of competitors.

"The strategy nowadays is copying. It's at the point where they take our sales and sell everything for a shekel less," he said.