'Shufersal Will Arrange Own Shelves'

The major food suppliers are still trying to limit Shufersal's strength, but the grocery powerhouse is unlikely to give in to their demands that it cede control of its shelves. "Shufersal will arrange its own shelves without restrictions, as is accepted practice around the world," said sources in the retail sector.

Major chains around the world do as they please, and there's no reason for the Israeli chain to agree to limit its actions within its own stores, they said.

A group of large suppliers, including Strauss, Osem, Coca-Cola Israel and Tnuva, has asked the Israel Antitrust Authority to let them form a combine to negotiate shelf placement with Shufersal.

Their demands include limiting the payments Shufersal takes in exchange for preferential placements and ensuring that their products are visible.

The authority is unlikely to accede to the demand, sources said over the weekend - letting competitors join forces to negotiate with another market player is liable to harm consumers.

Regarding concerns voiced by larger suppliers, who claimed smaller suppliers would be hurt as their products were pushed into less visible places, the retail sources said Shufersal had no interest in damaging its suppliers.

Plus, the small suppliers prefer that Shufersal, not the large suppliers, decide what goes where on the shelves, the source added