French supermarket giant Carrefour officially opened 50 branches across Israel on Tuesday.
The international retail chain’s entry into Israel is expected to increase competition and lower prices for the consumer.
Carrefour will run three types of branches in Israel: neighborhood stores called Carrefour City, minimarket stores dubbed Carrefour Market and larger discount stores known as Carrefour Hyper (in Ra’anana, Netanya and Beit Shemesh).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the move as “gigantic news.”
“What is good for Europe is good for Israel. Prices will be dropping, they will come down by dozens of percent on hundreds of products, and on thousands in the future,” Netanyahu said during a visit to a new branch Monday evening alongside Economy and Industry Minister Nir Barkat.
“This is the start of a change, which began when we enacted free education from ages 0-3. Together we are fighting the cost-of-living and increasing competition for the benefit of the citizens of Israel,” he said.
Israel is now the 50th country in which Carrefour operates, which is why it chose to launch 50 stores on its first day of operations.
The company has invested 250 million shekels (about $68 million) in the launch.
By the end of the year, it plans to operate as many as 100 branches nationwide.
Carrefour operates around 14,000 branches around the world.
Israelis have repeatedly listed the cost of living in the country as their top concern in public opinion polls.