Strauss CEO: We've done all we can to cut prices

Strauss Israel CEO Zion Balas gives an initial response to Pesek Zman protest.

"We've done all we can to cut prices," said Strauss Group Ltd. (TASE:STRS) unit Strauss Israel CEO Zion Balas yesterday. "I hope that the public understands this. Retailers will offer attractive prices for Elite products in time for the Purim holiday, which will be celebrated in Israel and in Jewish communities worldwide."

Balas was responding for the first time to the Pesek Zman protest that has developed against Strauss-Elite on Facebook. Yesterday, Yoav Rokach-Pan, an Israeli living in the US, uploaded to Facebook a receipt from a US supermarket that shows that Pesek Zman chocolate bars are being sold for only $0.69 in the US (about NIS 2.60), compared with NIS 6.30 in Israel. In addition, Rokach-Pan showed that other Elite chocolate bars are also being sold in the US at much lower prices than in Israel. For example, Twist is being sold at $0.39 and Ta'ami is being sold at only $0.59.

"The Israeli consumer has a short memory "

Israeli retailers are pointing an accusatory finger at the Israeli consumer, and doubt that the new consumer boycott of Strauss will succeed. "The Israeli consumer has a short memory, and he does not know how to fight for his rights. It does not matter what the big companies do the consumer backs them," a retailer told "Globes" yesterday.

Another retailer said that the fact that consumers prefer one brand over another works to their disadvantage. "Rejuan Turkish coffee sells for NIS 36, whereas a similar coffee manufactured by Elite sells for NIS 58 a difference of 61%. A 100 gram triple-pack of Nahala coffee sells for NIS 17, and the retailer is still making plenty of profit. The Elite 100 gram pack sells for NIS 22-24, a difference of 30-40%, and the retailer is not making any profit. Now, show me one person who has stopped buying Elite coffee and has begun buying Nahala coffee, which is a quality coffee.

"Israeli consumers need to step back and take stock. Why do they always need to buy the Elite brand? Do you realize how stupid this is? The problem is not just with the companies. If you, as a business owner, knew that you could take advantage of someone, it could be that you might do so. And that is exactly what the large companies are doing," the retailer says.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 20, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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