JAKARTA. Receiving their holiday bonus during a major sale seems like a perfect recipe to lead thousands of Jakartans to pack out shopping centers and malls.
Shopping centers and malls were two to three times more crowded than on regular weekends after most workers and civil servants received their holiday bonus, locally known as THR.
The traffic that usually eases as the night deepens became crazier as people opted to spend their THR shopping at the Midnight Sale program to find the best deals and discounts on branded items for themselves or loved ones to wear during Idul Fitri.
Take Irma Puspitayani and her husband, who willingly traveled all the way from Cibubur, East Jakarta, for midnight shopping at Grand Indonesia mall in Central Jakarta.
Irma, who wanted to buy watches, waited in a long queue as the outlet applied an open-close visit system in the face of overwhelming crowds.
Her sacrifice, however, paid off after she got a major discount on two watches.
“I got 70 percent off!” she said enthusiastically.
She paid only Rp 1.7 million (US$127.50) for the two watches, she said, down from their original price of Rp 5 million.
Irma said she did not actually have a fixed list what to buy. “I only browse and see whether the prices and the items are worth the buy,” she said.
She said she was glad she had visited the mall during the Midnight Sale. “The Urban Icon rarely gives discounts,” she said, that being the outlet she visited.
Unlike Irma, 29-year-old Feni Fitriani, who went shopping with her colleagues, was a bit disappointed, as she could not find satisfying deals for the items she wanted.
“The products that I wanted were still expensive after discounting,” she said, adding that she was hoping to get clothes and shoes for her and her husband for Idul Fitri.
Feni said besides the discounts being only around 10 to 30 percent on the items she wanted, the crowds also discouraged her. “The queue to try the clothes, for example, was crazy. It could take 15 minutes to finally get a changing room,” she said.
Feni, who had just received her THR, said she eventually only bought a few garments for her husband at 50 percent off.
“I did not buy anything for me. However, it was fun to shop until midnight,” she said.
Feni said the traffic was also bad. “I took the Transjakarta to get here as the lane was clear enough. However, it was hard to get a taxi when I tried to leave the mall and the road was also congested,” she said.
Separately, Ellen Hidayat, chairwoman of the Indonesian Shopping Center Association (APPBI)’s Jakarta chapter, said the Midnight Sale was one of the most popular programs during the annual Jakarta Great Sale (JGS) from June 3 to July 17, held in celebration of the anniversary of the city.
Ellen said 24 shopping malls and centers were participating in the program. “Most of them hold midnight sales this weekend but some others will be next weekend,” she said.
The chairwoman said the Midnight Sale this year was held at the best time as shoppers had just received their holiday allowances and it was during the fasting month.
She said the visitors usually began packing into the malls two hours before breaking the fast while the midnight sales started at 8 p.m. “That is why the malls look crowded,”she said.
The APPBI aims to reap around Rp 15.74 trillion in transaction value this year, an increase of 8 percent from last year’s Rp 14.57 trillion.
Grand Indonesia public relations assistant manager Dinia Widodo said the company was optimistic that the number of visits during this year’s Midnight Sale would increase 20 percent from last year’s 215,634.
“Ahead of Idul Fitri is the high season for retailers. During the Midnight Sale, which was on Friday and Saturday nights, all employees were on standby to serve customers till midnight,” she said. (Corry Elyda)
Editor: Barratut Taqiyyah Rafie