Discount season officially

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo officially opened the Jakarta Great Sale 2008 at the Pacific Place shopping center in the Sudirman business district, Central Jakarta, on Sunday.

The Jakarta Great Sale (JGS), which started Friday and will run until July 27, is supported by 16 trading associations and some 8,000 retailers offering discounts and promotions.

"I hope the JGS this year will be merrier and bring more profits to the merchants," he said Sunday.

He said potential retail investors would enjoy a shorter administrative process.

"The 150 days to obtain a permit will be shortened to 38 days," he said.

He said although Indonesian products and malls are as competitive as Singapore's, the country still lacks entrepreneurship.

The event is expected to attract more than 20 million customers and take in Rp 2 trillion (US$215 million).

In 2006, the JGS reportedly raked in Rp 4.5 trillion in sales with 6,671 merchants. Last year, the value of sales reached Rp 5 trillion with 7,814 retailers involved.

The committee has listed at least 50 shopping centers, eight spas and eight hotels as taking part in the JGS this year.

Catrine Pakpahan, 31, said she was glad to see discounts offered at many of her favorite shopping malls, including Senayan City in South Jakarta.

"There were many shops offering discounts, for example, Zara clothing store, Debenhams and La Senza underwear. The discounts ranged from 20 to 70 percent," she said.

However, Catrine did not originally go to the mall to shop.

She and her friends were having a party at Rumah Bakmi Permata, one of the mall's food courts, which offers HSBC credit card owners a 50 percent discount.

The sale season, which is part of the city's 481st anniversary celebrations, will also hold social events, such as an exhibition on small and medium enterprises, a bazaar, a Betawi culinary festival, a photography exhibition and a beauty talk show.

On Friday last week, two shopping centers on Jl. MH Thamrin, Plaza Indonesia and Grand Indonesia, held a midnight sale.

The midnight sale, which started from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m, was also part of the JGS. (ind)

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