Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The magnetic lure of malls

MALLS have become almost inseparable from daily activities. The majority of city residents fill their spare time at the mall, either to shop or just to window shop.

Just visit any mall on the weekend and you will find many people there. Malls are no longer just for shopping but also for recreation. Often parents with children in town can be seen going in and out of mall stores followed by nannies pushing strollers.

Malls have indeed turned into magnets that entice city residents to enjoy many things, such as shopping, food and drinks or simply to find relief from daily stress. Socializing also takes place here as well as rendezvous with friends or business partners. So, many people have become addicted to malls as they feel they have to make time to visit one.

People are particularly drawn to malls during the Idul Fitri, Christmas and New Year holidays when many marketing events are held, such as sales and the offer of prizes, bonuses and so forth. Stores often lure customers by holding mid-year sales, great sales and the like.

The wheels of economy turn fast at malls. Various strategies are used to reach sales targets. A seller receives money and customers receive products, so the economy continues to turn. Not only neighboring country Singapore has a great sale but also Jakarta. This year, the Jakarta Great Sale was conducted simultaneously at 33 malls in Jakarta.

There has been rapid growth of malls in Indonesia’s major cities, especially in Jakarta. Malls in Jakarta include Emporium Pluit, Pluit Village, Mall of Indonesia, Plaza Senayan, Senayan City, Central Park, Gajah Mada Plaza, Menteng Plaza, Plaza Indonesia, EX Plaza Indonesia, Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Plaza Atrium, Lifestyle X’nter, MGK Kemayoran, Mal Kelapa Gading, La Piazza, Mal Artha Gading, Sports Mall Kelapa Gading, Arion Mall, Mal Ciputra, Mal Daan Mogot, Mal Puri Indah, Mal Taman Anggrek, Blok M Plaza, Blok M Mall, Blok M Square, Mal Ambassador, Mal Pondok Indah, Pacific Place, Plaza Semanggi and many more.

Grand Indonesia Shopping Town was officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2008 and is the largest mall in Jakarta. Standing on 250,000 square meters of land, the mall is a family venue as it provides everything a family could need under one roof.

In this area, there is the legendary Hotel Indonesia, which is now managed by the Kempinski Group. The multifunction area consists of offices, apartments and of course malls, which have popular tenants such as Blitz Megaplex cinemas, Seibu department store and Ranch Market.

Besides Grand Indonesia, other new malls have cropped up, namely Pacific Place, Senayan City, Mall of Indonesia and Central Park. Older ones keep upgrading themselves.

One of the old shopping areas in Jakarta is Blok M located in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. Some of the legendary shopping centers here are Blok M Plaza, Blok M Mall, Pasaraya and the latest one, Blok M Square.

Blok M Plaza is a first generation modern mall in Jakarta and was constructed in 1990. It has seven shopping floors and 13 parking floors for about 700 cars and 300 motorbikes. The plaza, which was officially inaugurated by the late Tien Soeharto on May 30, 1991 still gets crowded. Meanwhile, Blok M Mall, located underground with a bus terminal above it, is also crowded, with its target market being the middle- to low-income segments.

The Blok M area was indeed popular in the 1980s and a film was made titled Blok M. The area’s Jl. Melawai was once a meeting point for teenagers and was filled with crowds in the evenings. Hence, one developer has availed of the area’s convenient location and built a mall there called Blok M Square.

The plot on which Blok M Square stands previously housed Melawai Market and Aldiron Plaza — two well-known names — that were always crowded. It has now been transformed into a top-rate mall that has everything. Blok M Square, with 80,326 square meters of floor space on 21,226 square meters of land, has first-class facilities and is one of the most convenient malls for both the store owners and customers.

It has seven floors of shops and parking space for about 1,600 cars and a capsule lift from which people can view the activities in the mall. The area used to hold a mish-mash of vendors crowding the pavements and parking space, but today it has been transformed into a modern and beautiful mall. Happy shopping! (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, July 30, 2010

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