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Unilever’s sales decline in Indonesia because of anti-Israel boycotts

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Unilever is the latest company to report a rough fourth quarter because of boycotts against the company over the war in the Middle East.

The company, which makes Vaseline, Dove soaps, Rexona deodorant and other household staples, said that sales declined 15% in Indonesia in the last three months of last year.

Unilever said in a release that sales in Indonesia were impacted as “consumers avoided the brands of multinational companies in response to the geopolitical situation in the Middle East.”

Consumers in predominantly Islamic countries, like Indonesia, which has more than 200 million Muslims, have boycotted Western companies for what they perceive as the businesses supporting or having ties to Israel’s war in Gaza.

“In Indonesia, we saw double-digit sales decline in the fourth quarter as sales of several multinational companies were impacted by geopolitically focused consumer-facing campaigns,” said Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher in a call Thursday.

Other companies made similar statements recently about boycotts in overseas countries.

McDonald’s said Monday that it’s experiencing “meaningful business impact” in the Middle East because of the war. Yum! Brands, which owns KFC and Pizza Hut, said its chains’ “sales were impacted by the conflict in the Middle East region with varying degrees of impact,” which dented same-store sales growth in several countries. Starbucks also said its earnings were lower because of similar reasons.

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