IDB Planning Huge Expansion of Super-Sol Deal Chain

Rival retailers terrified of competition by burgeoning discount chain

Super-Sol plans to fundamentally restructure its empire of supermarket outlets. It means to double the number of its Super-Sol Deal discount outlets, and to convert 25 branches of the Clubmarket chain, which it recently bought out of bankruptcy proceedings, into Super-Sol Deals. That would bring the total number of branches in that chain to 52.

Both private supermarket chains and suppliers have expressed concern about the planned expansion. Many private grocery store owners are worried they will have trouble competing with Super-Sol Deal's pricing policy.

When Super-Sol Deal was launched, CEO Effi Rosenheus said the food retailer was declaring war on the private sector and that it planned to offer the cheapest products on the market. Suppliers are concerned that Super-Sol will demand even larger discounts from them, since buying Clubmarket put its market share at 40 percent of bar-coded retail food sales - a market that accounts for 70 percent of private consumption.

Medium-sized suppliers are worried about profitability in the face of the Super-Sol demands, and similar ones from Blue Square likely to follow. Larger suppliers expressed concern that Super-Sol will again use its clout by taking products off shelves, as it has done in the past when it didn't reach commercial agreements with suppliers, such as with foodstuffs giant Strauss-Elite.

According to AC Nielsen statistics, Super-Sol Deal's 27 branches currently account for more than 40 percent of Super-Sol's sales (160 branches).

Super-Sol's spokesman stated in response that the retailer does not comment on strategic matters.