Israel: Round 2 of Chicken ‘War’ Between SuperSol & Rami Levi

(Tuesday, September 16th, 2008)

It appears that ’round 2′ of the chicken war between major supermarket chains SuperSol and Rami Levi is underway, just months after the first round ended. At its height, the competition between the two retail giants drove chicken prices down to NIS 1.19kg.

This round began on Monday with Rami Levi lowering chicken prices to NIS 3.90/kg, SuperSol has warned and responded with lower prices, lowering chicken in its SuperSol Deal stores to NIS 2.90/kg. SuperSol is also lowered prices in the Modi’in area, where Rami Levi has his largest turnover.

What is really surprising is the timing of the move, just before Rosh Hashanah, when the price of chickens in supermarkets and elsewhere are on the increase, selling for about NIS 20/kg in supermarkets. This means the two retail giants are subsidizing a hefty portion of the sales of the chickens sold below cost price.

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Others are calling for government intervention, calling the chicken market a ‘cartel’, explaining it is an annual ritual to increase prices before the Yomim Tovim, “as if there is true competition” and “as if the slaughterhouses were not prepared – as if they did not know Rosh Hashanah was coming.”

Most consumer advocates advise that those who can, should buy their chickens weeks before the Yomim Tovim since the prices continue to increase as Tishrei gets closer.

For now, it appears that the chicken price war is not extending to the chareidi supermarkets of the chareidi brands of chicken, which are generally more costly year-round.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

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