Watchdog raids Shufersal, Strauss

Strauss, a maker of snacks, fresh food and coffee, also said materials were taken and senior and other company officials were questioned.

'Shufersal' supermarket (photo credit: REUTERS)
'Shufersal' supermarket
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The offices of supermarket chain Shufersal and food producer Strauss Group have been raided by the country’s competition watchdog, the companies said on Tuesday.

In a regulatory filing in Tel Aviv, Shufersal said its corporate offices were searched, computers and documents were taken and the company’s chief executive was questioned.

Strauss, a maker of snacks, fresh food, and coffee, also said materials were taken and senior and other company officials were questioned.

The Competition Authority said it had opened an investigation and is looking at a number of suppliers and chain stores on suspicion of breaches of competition law. It did not provide further details.

“The company has reported that this morning investigators from the Competition Authority conducted a search of the company’s offices and took computer documents and equipment, and that the company’s CEO was questioned at the Competition Authority’s offices about the nature of the investigation and its circumstances,” it said.

 Shufersal Deal branch in Jerusalem, May 16, 2012 (credit: URI LENZ/FLASH 90) Shufersal Deal branch in Jerusalem, May 16, 2012 (credit: URI LENZ/FLASH 90)

In a statement to Reuters, Shufersal said: “The company acts in accordance with the law and will cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities.”

A Strauss representative was not immediately available for further comment.

N12’s Tochnit Chisachon (“Saving Plan”) program revealed recently that Yashir L’Mehadrin, a site run by Shufersal that targets the ultra-Orthodox community, was offering products for cheaper than the chain’s main website. Prices for as many as 2,000 identical products were found to be 10%-20% cheaper on Yashir L’Mehadrin, and in some cases, the difference was even greater. The price of frozen salmon went from NIS 64.90 on the mainstream site to NIS 34.90 on the mehadrin site, and the price of a jelly donut for Hanukkah fell from NIS 5.90 to NIS 2.90.

Zev Stub contributed to this report.