Israel's May-through-July Retail Sales Fall, Especially at Supermarkets

Consumer demand is down overall amid anemic economic growth in the second quarter.

Moti Milrod

Revenues at the country’s supermarket chains declined by an annualized 4.2% in May through July, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday, the latest sign of Israel’s flagging consumer demand.

Between February and April, the food retailers’ sales had dropped by an annualized 2.6% compared to the same period the year before.

But retail sales aren’t just falling at supermarkets. Based on a survey of major retailers, the statistics agency said May-through-July retail sales dropped by an annualized 2% compared to the same period the year before.

These numbers include revenues at major retailers of clothing, shoes, housewares, durable goods, books, office supplies, optical supplies, cosmetics and toys, in addition to food sales. This follows a 1.2% drop between February and April.

The figures are preliminary, with a better picture due in a month when the latest data based on value-added-tax revenues are available.

If borne out by the more complete data, numbers released at the beginning of the week would be supported. They showed that economic growth including consumer consumption had slowed in the second quarter.

Economic growth was just 0.3% in the quarter, while consumer spending was up 0.9%. The consumer-spending figures were dampened by lax outlays on durable goods like cars, as well as on clothing.