Consumers Cut Back for Pesach

Customers shop at discount stores, buy house brands.

Consumers found creative ways to save on preparing for this year's Passover holiday. The most common method way to cut back on costs was simply to buy less expensive products. "This time consumers were not afraid of trying goods from less-known manufacturers or from our private labels, which are 30% to 40% cheaper than the leading brands of the big manufacturers," said Rami Levy of the eponymous supermarket chain.

Levy said his sales are up 45% from last year, but in same-store sales (not including new ones opened over the past year) the rise was only 17%. He said the average holiday shopping basket was about 2% less, at NIS 315 on average. He explained that while customers may have cut back, his low-priced supermarkets attracted more buyers in total. "Because of the economic situation, many consumers have switched to us and other discount chains. People bought the same quantities, but bought cheaper brands," said Levy. He added that many are buying the cheaper house brands instead of the big names to save money; though they often used the money they saved to buy a few more items for the holiday.

The major supermarket chains, Super-Sol, Blue Square and Co-Op, did not provide sales figures, but one major chain executive said that sales were not down, particularly in their discount branches. "People are going abroad less and eating at home more," he said, but noted the holiday season does not say anything about what will happen next.