Competition watchdog intends to indict supermarket execs for coordinating prices

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

File: A security guard sits outside a Victory supermarket in Tel Aviv, November 19, 2019. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
File: A security guard sits outside a Victory supermarket in Tel Aviv, November 19, 2019. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Israel’s competition watchdog summons CEOs and senior executives of supermarket chains Victory and Yochananof for a hearing before filing an indictment for allegedly engaging in cartel behavior and in attempts to coordinate prices.

The Israel Competition Authority announces that it has notified Victory owner and CEO Eyal Ravid, Yochananof owner and CEO Eitan Yochananof, and Super Bareket CEO Ephraim Tshuva, along with other managers of the chains, to appear for a hearing before filing charges.

The announcement regarding the hearing follows a complex investigation that goes back to 2021, on suspicions that the managers of the supermarket chains were engaged in cartel behavior and price fixing in violation of the Competition Law, as well as in breach of the Food Law.

The competition watchdog cites a phone conversation conducted at the end of October 2021, during which Victory CEO Ravid and Elad Harazi, deputy CEO of Yochananof, allegedly agreed not to offer promotions to consumers that are done together with suppliers due to stagnating market conditions that prevailed at the time and to protect their market positions.

In addition, Ravid allegedly attempted to coordinate consumer prices with suppliers of other retailers. The watchdog cites three cases in which Ravid contacted different suppliers and asked them to raise consumer prices of their products at other retailers, including the Rami Levy supermarket and Yochananof chains.

Since the start of the investigation, Ravid has been probed a number of times by the competition watchdog for making public statements about prices to signal to major food retailers that the chain was considering raising prices in an attempt to reach a restrictive arrangement with them on price hikes.

Most Popular