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The action committee established by the suppliers of the bankrupt Clubmarket chain is working to get bank credit for businesses hurt by the food retailers' collapse. The committee is concerned that at the beginning of the month, small suppliers, for whom 30 percent or more of sales were at the supermarket chain, will have trouble paying salaries and meeting commitments to their own suppliers. The committee is concerned about a possible domino effect whereby these suppliers would be forced into bankruptcy protection as income from Clubmarket is cut off.

Yoram Orgad, the director of a nonprofit small business association, said his organization has received phone calls from 30 small suppliers hurt by the collapse, and 15 business people came in for personal meetings. He stated that most suppliers reported that 10 percent of their sales, up to NIS 200,000, were to Clubmarket and that they would handle the situation.

"The problem becomes more serious for suppliers who sold 30 to 50 percent to the chain," Orgad added.

Business risk rating agency Business Data Israel reported last week that 55 Clubmarket suppliers are in substantial danger. BDI reported that 14 of them - accounting for 1,700 jobs - are in substantial danger of collapsing. BDI says these are mostly small- and medium-sized suppliers, but adds that "in the long term this could have an impact on far larger companies."

The Clubmarket suppliers' committee joined forces to constitute the single largest creditor in order to gain leverage to collect the debts on behalf of the small suppliers.