Kosher food group G. Willi-Food has reported a 10.2% fall in sales for the first quarter to NIS95.6m (US$22.8m).
The company attributed the decline primarily to the cessation of the operations of Laish Israeli, its US subsidiary, in July 2008.
Operating income for the first quarter fell by 42.6% to NIS8.5m from NIS14.8m in the corresponding quarter last year. Net income fell by 30.0% to NIS6.8m.
President and chief operating officer Zwi Williger was bullish in spite of the declines.

“We are very pleased with our first-quarter 2009 results in the current challenging environment,” he said. “Willi-Food’s first-quarter results were affected by the sharp decrease in global purchase prices, the depreciation of the NIS versus the US dollar, the continued environment of uncertainty in the global financial markets, and the recession that began in our home market.”
Williger said that in spite of the adverse economic conditions, the first-quarter net income of NIS6.8m represented a margin of 7.1% of revenues.

“Willi Food has taken the appropriate measures to position the company for a stronger fiscal 2009 and we remain focused on maximising long-term profitability,” he added.
Williger said the company would “continue to work to expand the footprint and brand recognition of Willi-Food globally”, while diversifying its product base in order to hedge against any single event impacting its results. “We are looking for improved Willi-Food’s results in 2009 as compared to our 2008 results,” he said.