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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce reported on Sunday that food purchases this year are expected to rise five percent above the numbers from 2006.
"Probably the biggest reason that we expect to see such a large increase is because this year Rosh Hashana leads directly into Shabbat, making it a three-day holiday," said Rubin Schlussel, chairman of the food division in the FICC.
According to the FICC, the same items that saw significant increases in purchases leading up to the holiday last year are expected to once again register solid sales this season. Included among the items highlighted by the FICC are candy-baskets, whose sales increased 158.9% in the week leading up to Rosh Hashana last year, dried-fruit (121% increase), table wine (83% increase) and honey (80.8% increase).
Similarly, the sales of non-food items are also expected to increase above 2006's numbers, with items such as barbecue equipment, candles and matches and disposable products, including tablecloths, napkins and silverware, leading the way at registers across the country.
"The Israeli market continues to expand and one thing that really sticks out this year is the purchase of higher-end products that cost more on average than regular products," said Schlussel. "However, prices have not gotten out of control and won't get so high because there is strong competition among the different chains in the country. Also, the low dollar rate is having a good effect on the prices customers are paying."
The FICC earlier reported that sales of wine and hard liquor are expected to reach NIS 340 million during the upcoming holiday season, a jump of 10% from last year. Some 40% of the alcohol sold during the period will be red wine, 30% will be white wine, 15% will be hard liquor and 15% will be of special purchases of various, more high-end alcoholic beverages such as an expensive cognac or champagne. The average bottle of wine sold during the season will be priced between NIS 35-60, as compared to an average of NIS 25 during the rest of the year.