Mega Fires, Cofix Hires

What does 5 shekels buy you these days? At the newly opened Cofix stores, the coin will get you almost any item. At Mega, it’s enough to release a shopping cart with one wobbly wheel.

In case you’ve missed it, Alon Blue Square’s Mega grocery chain is in a death spiral. Just this past weekend, the Histadrut agreed to accept the firing of 300 permanent employees, almost double the 175 to which it originally agreed. As many as 30 Mega branches will close. Most are probably like the one I visited last week, where the workers behaved like the walking dead. Another 400 contract workers are also set to be axed, but as contractors, they are somebody else’s problem.

NIS5But elsewhere in Israel grocery-land, Cofix is changing the game again for consumers. Having revolutionized our coffee and snack experience, the chain recently opened its first Super Cofix stores, selling packaged food and non-food products for 5 shekels or a fraction of that amount. The chain seeks to open 100 branches with a limited range of products and brands, building from the four now operating.

And while Mega hemorrhages, with the parent company’s shares down 18% from its 52-week high, Cofix creatively entered the Tel Aviv capital market to become the country’s first cafe’ chain to be traded on the bourse. With that as backdrop, where do you want to spend your money?