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Tiv Taam is to open a new branch in central Tel Aviv operating under the Mizra brand name. The 100 square-meter self-service delicatessen will focus on cheeses, wines and spirits and fresh bread, in addition to processed-meat products. Tiv Taam says it has invested NIS 1.5 million in the new outlet.

Tiv Taam group CEO Dubi Shneidman said yesterday that "if the outlet is successful it will be easier to open additional, similar branches, both in terms of real estate availability and the costs involved in establishing them."

Shneidman said that Mizra's strong brand would enable expansion beyond Tel Aviv.

Tiv Taam in the City operates eight branches, six in Tel Aviv, and it has plans for four more there, and another in Givatayim. Shneidman said he did not believe that the development of an urban chain would adversely affect the performance of Tiv Taam's 30 or so larger stores located outside of urban centers, which are due to expand to 50-60 stores by the end of 2009.

"Everyone said that Mega in the City would affect AM:PM and Tiv Taam, but that hasn't been our experience" he said. "This new concept is meant to serve a very specific neighborhood."

Tiv Tam acquired a 75 percent stake in Mizra Delicacies last year. Mizra operated its own franchise outlets prior to the takeover, but these are no longer in operation, and its products are now marketed by Tiv Taam through licensed distributors who also market competing products.