Victory Supermarket Chain Ltd. (TASE: VCTR), controlled and managed by CEO Eyal Ravid, is establishing vegan departments in its branches throughout Israel, sources inform "Globes." Victory began selling vegan products in 10 branches as a pilot in central Israel, and the pilot's success led the chain to expand this activity to most of its branches.
Victory branches offer hundreds of products in various categories. The chain already has a department that features gluten-free products appealing to celiac diseases patients who must avoid products containing this ingredient and other customers seeking to reduce their gluten consumption for various other reasons.
The supermarket chains are striving to increase their sales and customer loyalty, and are making efforts to reach more segmented and focused markets for this purpose. Victory recently established a customer loyalty club for vegan consumers with 4,000 members and a club for customers who do not consume gluten with 3,000 members. Members of these clubs enjoy special individual bargains from special coupons. "Thanks to this department, we receive priority from suppliers in pricing and bargains," says Ravid, adding that the challenge is offering a more diverse and cheaper range of products. "It makes it possible to monitor the consumers' consumption habits and generate greater loyalty to the chain," he says.
Victory's new measure is expanding the deployment of its branches with a vegan department to 60-70% of its branches nationwide, and further expansion will be according to demand. "Obviously, in cities like Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Haifa, and Beer Sheva, where there are more students, interest is greater," Ravid explains. "The vegan trend is spearheaded by young people, and this is bringing new customers." Ravid said that Victory's vegan business grew 49% in the first quarter of 2018, compared with the corresponding quarter in 2017.
Victory is thereby joining the vegan trend that picked up speed in 2017. The trend towards consumption of vegan and vegetarian products extended to the entire food market in 2017. Sales of vegetarian and vegan products grew 17.7% in 2017, and 2017 sales exceeded the previous year's sales by NIS 34 million. Sources in the market predicted that this market will continue growing, and will spill over from specialty stores to the general market.
Victory ended 2017 on a positive note, with sales up 15% to NIS 1.6 billion and net profit rising 14% to NIS 32 million. Victory added four branches to its activity during the year, and increased its floor space by nearly 11%. The chain currently has 2,500 employees in 46 branches nationwide and a 3.8% market share.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 10, 2018
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