Pharmacy chain Be (formerly New Pharm), a subsidiary of Shufersal Ltd. (TASE:SAE), is offering prices at least 20% cheaper than those of competitor Super-Pharm, according to three comparative surveys by the Israel Consumer Council on three different days in the past two weeks that included dozens of different items.
The surveys, which relied on reports of prices by the pharmacy chains to the prices database, used the Pricez price comparison engine.
The prices reflect an average for the chain, excluding online prices. The surveys did not include the two chains' private brands, but did take bargain campaigns into account, except for credit card and customer loyalty club bargains.
Most buyers at both chains belong to customer loyalty clubs and hold Super-Pharm's Life Style card or are members of Shufersal's club (with or without a credit card). There are many bargains in the sector, especially in the Super-Pharm chain, including bargains for the general public and special bargains for club members.
It should also be taken into account that the prices do not include the price hikes announced in the past few days, and that prices of the recently launched Be chain are special prices that are likely to rise in time, although Shufersal CEO Itzik Abercohen stated when Be was launched that by creating an alternative to Super-Pharm, "We will bring news of competition and change." Be CEO Uri Waterman declared, "The pharmacy market is backward, and the consumer feels that he is being abused." Be's campaign slogan is "It's about time."
The list of products included in the survey included a range of toiletries from various manufacturers, for example Al Sabon soapless soap (made by Keff), deodorant (Roxana, Speed Stick, Gillette, Careline, Titanium), tampons (O.B., Kotex, Tampax), toothpaste (Colgate, Sensodyne, Elmex), shampoo and hair conditioner (Dove, Hawaii, Pinuk, Pantene), shower/body gel (Nivea, Palmolive, Keff), hair dye (Garnier), and razor blades (Gillette, Schick).
In some cases, the differences in prices between the chains were very large because of individual bargains. For example, Colgate Total is sold at Be for NIS 12 and for NIS 21 at Super-Pharm and Gillette Artic Ice is sold for NIS 17 at Be and NIS 26 at Super-Pharm. There are opposite cases; Pantene hair conditioner is sold for NIS 8 at Super-Pharm and NIS 21 at Be. Such differences result from aggressive bargain campaigns that will intensify as competition spreads over the sector.
The Be chain currently has 70 branches, compared with 240 for Super-Pharm. As part of its response to brands sold exclusively at Be, such as Catrice and Ofra, Super-Pharm is also increasing its exclusive sale of brands; 80 of its branches will now have Glamglow brand products from the Estee Lauder group (sold exclusively at the April chain up until now).
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 17, 2018
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