"There have never been such tough months such as September and October in the fashion market," the CEO of one of Israel's retail fashion chains has told "Globes." He said that the terror attacks have paralyzed trade in downtown Jerusalem and hit stores hard throughout the country. Sales have been especially week over the past month when the winter collections have arrived in the stores, the weather has remained hot, and buyers have simply not turned up.
The large chains have reported a dive in sales of dozens of percent over the past three weeks and the trend has worsened over the past week. Data from retail information company RIS obtained by "Globes" shows that fashion and footwear retail stores had a 26.7% fall in sales nationwide in the first half of October.
RIS figures also shatter the belief that shoppers see malls as safer places. According to RIS the fall in sales in the largest malls was 28.7% compared with a 25.6% drop in power centers.
Worst hit has been Jerusalem, with not only the city center and nearby Mamilla suffering heavy losses. According to RIS, fashion and footwear retail sales were down 26% in Malkah mall in the first two weeks of October, and the situation is worsening.
In the first two weeks of October shoppers reacted throughout the country to the rise in terror attacks. Fashion and footwear retail sales were down 145 in Beersheva's Grand Canyon, 20% in Big Beersheva and 10.2% in the Negev shopping mall. The fall in sales in Beersheva has dropped even further over the past few days following the attack in Beersheva bus station on Sunday. The CEO of one retail chain told "Globes" that sales were cut in half in the Negev Mall after the past few days.
The worst hit malls have been Star Center in Ashdod where sales have fallen 41%, and the Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv where sales are down 40%. Market sources say that Azrieli has been hit so hard because it relies on a large percentage of customers who are passing through to pick up transport connections. The Ramat Aviv mall has seen sales fall 34%, while the Kanion Hagadol in Petah Tikva has since sales fall 32%, pushed down by a stabbing nearby on October 7.
Another factor has been that Israeli Arabs are staying away from malls in areas serving mixed Arab-Jewish populations. The G Mall in Kfar Saba saw sales fall 29% in the first half of October. Sales in Big Nazareth fell by a much more moderate 20%.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 21, 2015
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