Bread maker Sari Roti records increase in sales despite religious-fuelled calls for boycott

Sari Roti product being stepped on as part of the call for boycott of the bread company by some Muslims in Indonesia in December 2016. Photo: Facebook / KataKita

Sari Roti continues to be the most popular local bread brand in Indonesia, despite some Muslims in the country calling for its boycott late last year.

In December, there were calls online from some Muslims to boycott Sari Roti after the bread company publicly distanced itself from the mass protests against Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for his alleged blasphemy against Islam (initially it was believed the company had handed out free bread to protesters, but in fact they had been purchased by a third party). Some of the most ardent of boycotters really went far to show their disdain for Sari Roti, like stepping on their bread and uploading the photo on social media.

Despite this, and the fact that a Muslim organization launched an alternative bread brand called “Roti Al-Maidah” to capitalize on the expectation that Sari Roti would lose a lot of customers as a result of the boycott, Sari Roti has come out of the whole ordeal unscathed.

In fact, following a temporary drop in share value after the boycott, Sari Roti went on to earn Rp 2.52 trillion from sales in 2016, up a whopping 16% from the previous year. And, for the fourth quarter of 2016, Sari Roti received Rp 684.7 billion, up 13% from the same time period in 2015.

“The calls for boycott did not affect the company’s bottom line performance,” said Samuel Sekuritas Indonesia Researcher Marlene Tanumihardja, as quoted by Kompas.

Sari Roti’s 16% year-on-year growth also far exceeds the 8.5% for Indonesia’s bread industry during the same time period.

Analysts believe that Sari Roti employed aggressive marketing strategies to boost sales last year, which has paid dividends. The bread company is expected to be even more aggressive in increasing their sales this year by introducing more products, meaning that there is no better time to buy shares in Sari Roti than now.

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