strike mall biz 88 224.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As the teachers' strike moves into its third week, shopping malls across the country are benefiting from an average increase of 20 percent in the number of visitors spending their free time and money, mainly at fast-food stalls, coffee shops and movie theaters.
"There is no doubt that we are the ones who are profiting from the strike at the schools and universities," Moshe Rosenblum, CEO of British Israel's shopping mall division, Israel Malls, told The Jerusalem Post. "Over the past weeks we have seen an increase of between 10 to 20% in the number of visitors, mainly youngsters coming and hanging out at our malls in the morning hours of the day as a result of the teachers' strike, while visitor numbers in the afternoon remained unchanged."
Israel Malls owns and operates 17 shopping malls across the country including Kenyon Adumim in Ma'aleh Adumim, the Eilat Promenade Hall, Kenyon Hadar in Jerusalem, Kenyon Nahariya, Marom Center in Ramat Gan and Kenyon Harel in Mevasseret Zion.
The rise in the number of youngsters coming to the malls, Rosenblum added, was higher in the periphery such as at the Kenyon Adumim in Ma'aleh Adumim than in the larger cities.
"It is clear that the hundreds of thousands of school kids, who are not going to schools, are seeking things to do with their free time and the shopping malls today present a major part of the entertainment opportunities for young people at the cost of their parents," said Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. "Therefore we expect an increase in private consumption as a result of the teachers' strike."
School children represent about 1.2 million of the country's population, of which approximately 300,000 to 350,000 schools kids are affected by the teachers' strike at junior schools and high-schools, which started 19 days ago.
The Azrieli Mall Group, which owns and operates seven shopping malls across the country including the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv, which counts a daily average of 40,000 visitors, the Kenyon Holon with a daily average number of 25,000 visitors and the Negev Mall in Beersheba with a daily average number of 20,000 visitors, was seeing a similar trend.
"During the month of October we have seen an increase of 20% in visitors, particularly by school kids who were mainly interested in the entertainment and leisure activities of the mall such as the fast food stalls and cinema, while some students were looking for work during the time of the strike," the group said.