Slowdown hits consumer spending for Pessah

Survey finds consumers cut their Pessah purchases by 14 percent on average this year compared with 2008.

food shopping 88 224 (photo credit: )
food shopping 88 224
(photo credit: )
Consumers will be spending less during Pessah and on their food purchases for the Seder this year, according to a survey published by the Chamber of Tax Advisers on Tuesday. The survey, conducted among 800 retail businesses, found that consumers cut their Pessah purchases by 14 percent on average this year compared with 2008. The biggest drop in sales was reported in the clothing and footwear sector, feeling the pains of a 18% decline in business. Sales of electrical appliances and cosmetics fell 12%, while hairdressers and beauty parlors saw their revenues drop by 8%. Much of the same doom and gloom was reported in a survey published by the Histadrut Labor Federation's Consumer Authority over the weekend. "Israelis will this year be celebrating Pessah in a more modest way in light of the economic crisis. They will invite fewer guests and scale back on the volume of meals," Yaron Levinson, director of the Consumer Authority. "The survey points to a slowdown in the economy starting to hurt consumers, which will eventually increase the damage to the economy as a whole." Seventeen percent of the sample of 453 men and women said they would cut spending on food purchases for holiday meals because of the economic climate. The survey also showed that consumers would reduce overall expenditures ahead of Pessah, compared to a year ago. Twenty percent said they would will donate less to the needy, 18% would spend less on cleaning products, and 25% of those hosting a Seder planned to invite fewer guests. Moreover, 39% said they would cut back on spending for new items for the home on the eve of the holidays and 33% would spend less on refurbishing their homes, while 34% said they planned to scale back on purchases of new clothing or shoes and 36% planned to spend less on presents for relatives. During the holiday, 26% of the surveyed are planning to reduce expenditure on family outings, 36% are cutting back on vacations abroad and 34% are scaling back vacations in Israel. In contrast, the economic crisis is passing over the sales of furniture ahead of Pessah. "Over the past two weeks sales of furniture for Pessah accelerated, bringing some recovery to the sector," Amnon Schwartz, chairman of the Furniture Industries Association and CEO of the Aminach Group, said on Monday. "Sales of the furniture ahead of the Pessah holidays rose by 5% on average compared with last Pessah, generating NIS 520 million." Schwartz said sales of home furniture increased was up 5%, bedroom furniture by 3%, seating jumped 6% to 8%, and mattresses rose 6% on the eve of the holidays. "Out of the total furniture sales, 80% are made in Israel," said Schwartz. "In light of the economic crisis many local manufacturers reduced prices and made attractive offers ahead of Pessah, enabling convenient payment conditions."