G. Willi-Food posted a decline in net income during the first quarter of 2011 as the kosher manufacturer said sales were hit by Passover sliding into the second quarter of the year.

The company said today (31 May) that, during the quarter ended 31 March, net income declined to NIS6.2m (US$1.8m) from NIS7.4m in the same quarter of the previous year. Sales fell from NIS95m NIS88.5m.

Gross profit dropped to NIS23m compared to NIS28.3m in the first quarter of the previous year. Gross margin fell to 26% from 29.7%, which the company attributed to falling sales. It said the decline in gross profit was mainly due to the timing of the Passover festival and due to the decline gross margins.

President and COO Zwi Williger said: "We are pleased with our first-quarter 2011 results in the current challenging environment of global food commodity purchase prices inflation. We are sustaining our flexible purchasing strategy and we are well-positioned to limit the impact of such price inflation. Willi-Food's first-quarter results were affected by the shift of Passover sales to the second quarter and by the hard sale activities mainly relating to our new products."