Retailers predict six-month Danish boycott

Supermarkets across the GCC could boycott Danish goods for at least six months.

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By  Roger Field Published  February 9, 2006

Danish food products are likely to be absent from the shelves of leading Middle Eastern supermarkets for at least six months, according to senior store managers in the region. Mohamed Adil, CEO, Geant KSA, told RNME that the boycott of the goods, which followed the publication of offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper, is consumer driven and unlikely to be resolved within the next six months. “The majority of the customers don’t want to see those [products]. In the long term we have to protect our customers,” Adil said. “We are a customer focused company and the interests of the customer is supreme.” “In the past the boycotts have been done because of political issues. This is the first time a boycott has been done on a religious issue. I’m sure I see a long-term impact on them [the Danish products]. The situation will not change earlier than six months, unless something unforeseen happens, because it is a matter of faith.” But Adil stressed that if customer demand for Danish goods returns, Geant will respond by re-stocking the products. “If they [customers] want it tomorrow, we will stock it tomorrow. If they don’t want it for the next two years, we will not display it for two years.” George Mojica, general manager, Abu Dhabi Co-operative society, also said it is difficult to predict when consumers will return to buying Danish products and insisted that he will only restock the goods when consumers feel comfortable with the situation. “Consumers are pretty upset by the situation and we will not move,” he said. “It doesn’t seem as if it is going to settle down as soon as we had hoped for.” Mojica also rejected claims that the boycott of Danish foods, such as Lurpak butter, would lead to shortages of various foodstuffs. “They [Danish producers] have products in the category where you have a lot of competitor brands, so if Lurpak is disappearing from the shelf, you’ve got Al Marai and other brands that can take the volume without any problems,” he said.

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