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Yaakov Ginsburg, CEO of supermarket chain Clubmarket, has decided to resign. Ginsburg has informed the controlling shareholders of the company of his intention to leave and pursue his personal businesses, Haaretz has learned.

Ginsburg's departure will not come as a surprise to many. There have been reports recently that the controlling shareholders of the chain, the Mozes-Borovich-Rosen group, have approached several potential candidates for his replacement. Senior sources in Clubmarket told Haaretz that Ginsburg has agreed to remain in the post until a suitable replacement has been found.

Several weeks ago Haaretz reported that Clubmarket had approached Koby Levy, former head of Strauss dairies, and Yoram Dar, former CEO of rival supermarket chain Blue Square Israel, and offered them the position of Clubmarket CEO.

The Clubmarket group has lost market share since the start of 2004, and sales in its subsidiary chains, Jumbo and Hetzi Kupa, had begun to fall off. Its low-price subsidiary chain, Zol Po, appealing to the ultra-Orthodox sector, which had its management outsourced to an external concession holder, had seen its turnover increase. According to market figures from ACNielsen, Clubmarket managed to raise its market penetration in May 2005 to 12.9 percent, a recent record. But this is still a far cry from the levels of 13.5 percent in 2004, a year in which it, nevertheless, reported a loss.

In a strategic move, Clubmarket had taken to turn over some of its stores to its cut-price sub-brand, Impiria. The makeover of these branches was overseen by Pelephone CEO Yaakov Gelbard, who sits on Clubmarket's board of directors. Industry sources claim that Gelbard, former CEO of the Co-Op supermarket chain, has taken a very active role in managing the chain.