Mega Trustees Get Three More Months to Sell Chain

A man walks outside a Mega store in Jerusalem January 17, 2016. Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Flash90
A man walks outside a Mega store in Yerushalayim. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

The bankrupt Mega supermarket chain was given an additional three months of life Sunday in the Tel Aviv District Court. The trustees who have been given the responsibility of finding a buyer for the chain have been given two weeks to submit an updated plan to the court on how they plan to go about doing that.

The trustees told the court that there had been progress over the last three months, when they had been given responsibility for finding the buyers. Almost in danger of closing altogether, the chain had now worked out supply deals that have refilled its shelves, and undertaken various steps to increase its customer base – specifically shedding its corporate relationship with the Dor Alon group, and working out an arrangement with leaders of the chareidi community to encourage customers to shop at the chain.

A longstanding but unofficial ban by the Vaad HaRabbanim Lemaan Kedushas HaShabbos against shopping in the Mega chain supermarkets – including its associated Shefa Shuk and Zol B’Shefa markets – was lifted several weeks ago after the trustees who will decide the final fate of the chain declared that whatever the final outcome of the bankruptcy process, the stores will no longer be a part of the Dor Alon chain – and that none of its markets will operate on Shabbos. As a result, the Vaad issued a letter calling on the public to shop at the Mega chain, including Zol B’Shefa stores, in order to help workers who have been suffering and may soon be unemployed to survive financially.

On Jan.18, the courts gave the trustees who had been appointed after the chain declared bankruptcy a month to sort things out – and in an apparent bid to increase sales among the chareidi public, the trustees contacted the Vaad to ask for help in encouraging the chareidi public to once again shop at the chain’s markets; with the chain now officially separated from Dor Alon, it was now a shomer Shabbos chain, and with the fate of 3,500 families in the balance, it would be considered a great chessed to assist the workers.

One of the objectives of the trustees is to sell the chain as a single unit, they told the court. The trustees have received several offers from large supermarket chains for portions of the chain, including branches located in high traffic or affluent areas, but out of responsibility to workers and investors, as well as shoppers, the preference is to ensure that all the branches remain intact, at least at the time of the sale. The trustees told the court that they hoped to complete the sale by Pesach.