Leading Israeli retailer records revenue drop as national consumptions drops by 2.5%
Blue Square-Israel recorded revenues of $261.4 million for the first quarter of 2003, a decrease of 15.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2002.
The lower revenues reflect Israel's ever more pronounced recession. According to recent data published by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, consumption has declined by approximately 2.5 percent and per capita and output is down by three percent. Unemployment has reached 10.8 percent, and the average wage has declined by six percent. At the same time, there has been a real decline in the price of food.
From April 2002 to January 2003, the company closed twelve underperforming stores. Although this improved the company's profitability, it was a factor that contributed to lower revenues. Sales were particularly low during the last few days of March. These were the first days that followed the initiation of the War on Iraq, during which Israel's Ministry of Defense put the country on high alert, an action which had a pronounced effect on consumer
The lower revenues also reflect the timing of the Passover buying season. In 2003, the Passover holiday began on April 17, and the concentrated holiday buying season was entirely during the second quarter. In 2002, since Passsover began on March 28, the concentrated holiday buying season was entirely during the first quarter.
Blue Square is a leading retailer in Israel. A developer of modern food retailing in the region, Blue Square currently operates 169 supermarkets under different formats, each offering varying levels of services and prices. The company recorded 1.326 billion new Israeli shekels ($280 million) for the fourth quarter of 2002, a decrease of eight percent compared to NIS1.441 million in the fourth quarter of 2001 — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)