Carrefour to open dozens of supermarkets in Israel next week, vowing to tackle costs

Some 50 stores to launch on Tuesday, with 100 more planned to open by year’s end, as Israelis grapple with price hikes

Outside view of a Carrefour store Aug. 25, 2010 in Ecully, near Lyon, central France (AP Photo/Thomas Campagne)
File: Outside view of a Carrefour store August 25, 2010 in Ecully, near Lyon, central France (AP Photo/Thomas Campagne)

French supermarket chain Carrefour on Wednesday announced it will open its first 50 stores across Israel next week, aiming to increase competitiveness in the Israeli market.

Tel Aviv will welcome nine branches, Herzliya four, Netanya four, Beersheba three, Ashdod three and Haifa three, in addition to store openings in Jerusalem and dozens in smaller communities across the country on Tuesday, and with up to 100 more on the way by the end of the year.

Ori Kilstein, CEO of Carrefour Israel, said in a statement that the company’s arrival will increase the competitiveness of food prices.

“This is huge news for the Israeli consumer. We worked for many months in order to reach this moment. Our teams are ready and I invite everyone to come to every one of our branches across the country,” he said.

Carrefour operates around 14,000 branches in Europe, Asia and Africa. The firm has invested some NIS 250 million ($70 million) in its debut in Israel.

Stores will open under three brands, including Carrefour Hyper and Carrefour Market (larger discount branches) and Carrefour City (convenience branches).

File: Milk and other dairy products are on display at a Rami Levy supermarket in Jerusalem on July 17, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Along with much of the world, Israeli consumers have felt the pinch of rising prices in nearly every consumer category over the past year.

On Monday it was announced that regulated dairy products would see a rise of over 9 percent this week, as part of an expected 16% total increase across three years.

Then on Tuesday, dairy giant Tnuva said that it was raising the prices of its unregulated products by an average of 4.65%.

Dairy prices in Israel are a particularly sensitive issue and have sparked reactions that often snowball into mass demonstrations against the high cost of living. In 2011, the so-called cottage cheese protest sparked weeks of social unrest, resulting in supermarkets lowering dairy prices and policy reforms aimed at lowering consumer prices.

In March 2022, Electra Consumer Products announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Carrefour to open 150 branches to replace its Yeinot Bitan branches. Electra bought out the Yeinot Bitan chain in 2021.

In the transition period, many of the defunct chain’s stores operated under the “Super” brand as Carrefour geared up for its launch.

The arrival of Carrefour has paved the way for other companies to come to the Jewish state.

Dutch-owned international supermarket chain SPAR has also inked agreements to open branches in Israel, and in January, iconic convenience store 7-Eleven launched in the country.

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