Terrorist attacks hit retail sales in Israel

There have never been such tough months such as September and October in the fashion market,” says CEO of Israeli retail fashion chain.

October 22, 2015 10:53
2 minute read.
Azrieli Mall

The White City’s Azrieli Mall. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The terrorist attacks have paralyzed trade in downtown Jerusalem and hit stores hard throughout the country, the CEO of one of Israel’s retail fashion chains told Globes. “There have never been such tough months such as September and October in the fashion market,” he said.

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, he said.

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-percent 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 other shopping 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 Malha 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 terrorist attacks.

Fashion and footwear retail sales were down 14% in Beersheba’s Grand Canyon, 20% in Big Beersheba and 10.2% in the Negev Mall. The fall in sales in Beersheba has dropped even further over the past few days, following the attack in the Beersheba Bus Station on Sunday. Sales were cut in half in the Negev Mall over the past few days, the CEO of one retail chain told Globes.

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 Azrieli has been hit so hard because it relies on a large percentage of customers who are passing through for transportation connections.

The Ramat Aviv Mall has seen sales fall 34%, while the Kanion Hagadol in Petah Tikva has seen 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 20%.

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