Israeli supermarkets report losses after rumors of Walmart entry

Shufersal, Rami Levi, Victory and Yohananof were among the Israeli businesses to report losses.

An employee pushes shopping carts outside a Walmart store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., November 20, 2018 (photo credit: KAMIL KRACZYNSKI/ REUTERS)
An employee pushes shopping carts outside a Walmart store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., November 20, 2018
(photo credit: KAMIL KRACZYNSKI/ REUTERS)
Israeli supermarket chains' shares were hit by losses after reports spread that Walmart may enter the Israeli market after multiple LinkedIn recruitment ads were posted by the supermarket chain for Jerusalem, IL over the past few weeks.
Shufersal, Rami Levi, Victory and Yohananof were among the Israeli businesses to report losses, according to Mako news.
A spokesperson for Walmart told Israeli business daily Calcalist that the recruitment ads were for a city in Illinois named Jerusalem, however the listings appeared to specifically target Israeli users and the geographical location of the jobs appeared as Israel.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon visited Israel with a delegation of senior company officials in March in order to meet with Israeli officials and local startups, according to Calcalist.
In 2018, Walmart representatives visited the country to look into possibly opening a branch in Israel.
In February 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with John Furner, a senior Walmart executive, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and talked about the possibility of the low-cost retail giant opening a branch in Israel.
“We made it clear that we are ready to ease regulatory burdens wherever possible to make the market more accessible to them,” said Avi Simhon, an economic adviser to Netanyahu, as quoted by the Prime Minister’s Office. “The door to Netanyahu’s office is open.”
A spokesman for Walmart, Kevin Gardner, acknowledged the news to The Jerusalem Post but declined to specify what transpired in the meeting. “At the World Economic Forum, we meet with many global leaders to discuss a variety of topics, but we don’t comment on the substance of those discussions,” he said.
Max Schindler contributed to this report.