Tel Aviv…Has Israel become too small for Israel’s largest supermarket chains? It would seem that way from the recent buzz that both Supersol (Shufersal) owner Shulem Fisher and Co-Op owner Rami Mandel are expanding outside of Israel. Mandel has already gone public with his plans, announcing two years ago of plans to open as many as 10 stores in Jewish neighborhoods in the UK and the United States. Last week, Co-Op announced plans to open its first major kosher food supermarket in Moscow by the end of 2011 and then perhaps in St. Petersburg. The head of the Kashrut Department of the Chief Rabbinate of Russia, Rabbi Yosef Verzub, explained that this will be Russia’s first large kosher food supermarket.
Mr. Fisher has not as yet made his plans known but is said to seriously eye opening several stores in the US. The buzz began with the closing of the Pathmark store in Monsey, which sources say will be taken over in “some form” by Fisher. It was unclear whether the Monsey store would be modeled after the Yesh stores that cater to the Charedi (Orthodox) sector with bulk packages, discounted items, and other promotional programs geared for many of the large families that shop at some of the 53 Yesh stores. The sources also noted that the Fisher foray into Monsey will merely be the first of several stores the retailer plans to open. Ironically, the Super-Sol name, which was not affiliated with Israel’s largest chain, will soon disappear in the US. The first of four Super-Sol stores in Queens and Manhattan is set to open in Kew Garden Hills early next year under the name Seasons.