Monday, October 24, 2011

Everything is available at malls

JAKARTA’S only public spaces now seem to be its malls. In this hot tropical country, air-conditioned plazas and malls provide a comfortable place to cool down. Shopping is not the only pastime here, as malls have become recreational places for the family and an integral part of Jakartans’ lifestyle.

Indeed the existence of malls as a commercial facility, alongside traditional markets, conventional shops or small kiosks (warung), has implications on the direction of the city’s development as well as the mobility of its residents.

There used to be some differences between a plaza and a mall, but it is now difficult to differentiate, because both are in a luxurious huge building in a strategic location and have a similar one-stop shopping concept. In line with today’s urban lifestyle today malls have outlets that provide all your daily needs in addition to household items and fashion products. A culinary tour is also possible here. Also available are grand cinemas and entertainment centers. So, in short, everything is available at plazas and malls.

While most European or other Western families look for outdoor adventure on their weekends, Indonesians still prefer going to the malls and many with their children in tow.

According to a study conducted by AC Nielsen, Indonesian consumers have a strong preference to shop compared with other nations. “Indonesia is placed in number two position after Singapore in regards to shopping,” said director of AC Nielsen Yongky S. Susilo in the seminar entitled Shopping Center and Retail Challenges 2011.

Malls have certainly turned into an attractive magnet for Jakarta’s residents as they can conduct many activities here, including socializing. The city’s annual Jakarta Great Sale is held simultaneously by no less than approximately 60 plazas and malls in Jakarta.

The great sale not only offers sensational discounts of up to 70 percent plus late night shopping, but also includes other promos such as cultural tours, family recreation, culinary tours presented by a number of restaurants and cafes, special promotional programs related to health, beauty and fitness, as well as fireworks. All these are meant to attract more visitors to the plazas and malls.

Of course, each plaza and malls holds its own regular events, such as the Jakarta Fashion & Food Festival, which is the routine iconic event of Kelapa Gading Mall. This unique event consists of fashion and food events and is on the country’s international tourism agenda targeting foreign tourists as well as domestic ones, of course.

Outside Jakarta, in the suburban areas, the plazas and malls are equally creative in their events. One example is Summarecon Serpong Mall (SMS) in Banten province, which is collaborating with The Barrels for the fifth time to hold Oktoberfest 2011.

This is an annual event in Germany traditionally held to celebrate the harvest, but globalization has made Oktoberfest go international and nowadays it is not only celebrated in Germany but in many other countries, including here at SMS.

This year’s Oktoberfest will be special, because it will be part of the opening or inauguration of SMS phase 2 which will be open to the public on Oct. 27, 2011. The Oktoberfest itself will be held in SMS 2 on Oct. 28 and 29, 2011.

During those two days visitors will really feel as if they are in Germany. “Our visitors, apart from the domestic ones, are also the many German expatriates who live in and around Serpong,” explained Soegianto Nagaria, director of PT Summarecon Agung, Tbk.

One can enjoy beer and hotdogs to one’s heart content as this is the unique characteristic of Oktoberfest and there will be traditional German and Bavarian music and dancing, which is very interactive and will be presented by students of Deutsche Internationale Schule (DIS) and Swiss German University (SGU) and many other attractive programs, including the drawing of door prizes.

SMS, established on June 28, 2007, covers an area of 50,000 square meters and the first phase development is based on a full-leased mall system, while in the next 10 years it will be developed into three phases having a total area of 200,000 square meters.

SMS, with its family mall concept, consists of three floors: fashion, food and entertainment, which are in fact integrated. In addition, SMS has another unique concept, The Downtown Walk, which has become a shopping trend in Serpong as well as for Jakarta’s shoppers. This area is part of the unique exterior of SMS which enhances its beauty. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, October 24, 2011

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