Deemed to be non-essential, variety stores were closed for a significant period in 2020 and for part of 2021 during lockdowns in Israel in line with new waves of the pandemic. The channel therefore witnessed a significant decline in value sales as consumers moved online for various purchases, although many of them refrained from ordering from AliExpress and other e-commerce platforms that offer affordable products that are also found in variety stores, as goods offered by variety stores tend to be purchased on impulse.
Variety stores are known for being fairly large outlets that offer low prices and a wide variety of products including household items, toys and games, in addition to seasonal products such as back-to-school equipment, and are therefore growing in popularity amongst local cash-strapped consumers. Recording strong growth prior to the emergence of COVID-19, the appeal of variety stores has been so significant that an increasing number of shopping centres have sought variety stores to attract greater footfall and fill spaces left by retailers that have struggled during the pandemic.
Products on offer in variety stores range from art and crafts and school supplies to kitchenware to apparel to toys, amongst many others. Most items are small and not of high quality, but their attraction is their affordability to a wide audience.
Although e-commerce platforms such as Amazon are set to gain further momentum in Israel, offering competitive prices and convenient home delivery, most variety stores do not offer strong online platforms since their stock is fast-changing and dependent on impulse purchases and the potential to discover a new product that could be sold out within days. The stores also offer an added experience as they are generally large and divided into different categories or sections.
Variety stores is likely to remain a highly fragmented competitive landscape over the forecast period, dominated by smaller players under “others”. While Max Stok (Apax Partners Israel Ltd) continued to lead in value share terms in 2021, it lost some ground to these smaller competitors, as did second-ranked Zol Stock despite further expanding its outlet network.
Zol Stok, which owned the largest network of variety stores in Israel in 2021, has attracted the attention of chained discounter Yohananov. The latter signed an agreement to acquire 50% control of Zol Stok at the end of the review period.
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Variety stores are chained or independent retail outlets with a primary focus on selling a range of merchandise across several categories. Variety stores are chained or independent retail outlets with a primary focus on selling a range of merchandise across several categories, although they may also sell grocery items. Includes fixed-price stores (e.g. dollar stores) and catalogue showrooms. Example brands include Dollar General, Woolworth (Germany), and Miniso.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Variety Stores research and analysis database.
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