Prime Minister Yair Lapid predicted on Sunday that the arrival of major French supermarket chain Carrefour in Israel will contribute to a much-needed drop in the cost of living.
The Prime Minister made the remarks as it was reported that, in a separate development, Dutch international supermarket chain SPAR has also signed deals to open branches in Israel.
Lapid said in remarks at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting that Carrefour would provide “big cuts” in the prices of basic items.
“We expect other big companies to follow,” Lapid said.
“It’s not possible that in a rich country there are citizens who can’t make ends meet,” Lapid said, pledging to tackle the cost of living crisis.
Stressing that the government supports competition, Lapid warned “everyone in the market” that “those who raise prices irresponsibly risk waking up in the morning and finding themselves with unexpected competition.”
In March, Electra Consumer Products announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Carrefour to open 150 branches to replace its Yeinot Bitan branches. Electra acquired the Yeinot Bitan chain last year.
Carrefour products are expected to appear in Yeinot Bitan stores this summer and the first Carrefour-branded supermarkets will open at the end of the year, financial newspaper Globes reported at the time. The franchise contract is for 20 years, with an option for an additional 20 years thereafter.
“We are sure that the arrival of Carrefour in Israel will contribute significantly to improving the local shopping experience and will strengthen the purchasing power of the consumer, who will receive better products at more affordable prices,” said Patrick. Lasfargues, president of the international division of Carrefour during the conference. time, Globes reported.
The Carrefour deal apparently paved the way for another international supermarket chain to set up shop in Israel.
Globes reported on Sunday that Amit Zeev, recently CEO of Yeinot Bitan-Carrefour, has independently signed a letter of intent to bring Dutch international supermarket chain SPAR to Israel.
Zeev is said to be in negotiations to finalize the terms of an agreement on the channel’s operating rights.
SPAR has 13,623 stores in 48 countries. It has 14.5 million daily customers and had annual revenue of 41.2 billion euros in 2021, Globes reported. The channel was created in Holland in 1932.
The dramatic increase in the cost of living in Israel – Tel Aviv has been named the most expensive city of 2021 and the country has a current projected inflation rate of 4.5% – has become one of the central problems of the next general election.
Outrage over the rising cost of living has grown steadily, a decade after Israel last experienced widespread social unrest over it.
Israeli supermarket giants agreed earlier this month that they would freeze an expected rise in bread prices, following a request for a reprieve from Economy Minister Orna Barbivai.
Bread products with controlled or restricted prices include sliced and unsliced white and black breads, and challah. The expected 20% price hike, which would have raised the cost of common black bread from NIS 7.11 (about $2) to NIS 8.54 ($2.45), was due to take effect early this week last.
The announcement came after overnight consultations on the issue held by Lapid, and the Prime Minister’s Office said the Prime Minister would hold an “urgent” meeting on the price hike with affected parties.