Indonesia: Retailers blame postelection riots for sluggish Ramadan sales

The Indonesian Shopping Centers Tenants Association (Hippindo) has blamed the postelection protests on May 21 and 22 for sluggish sales during Ramadan, which is usually a peak time for fashion retailers.

Hippindo chairman Budihardjo Iduansjah said sales growth was still positive although it was not as high as expected because of political instability.

“The May 22 [violent protests] had a [negative] impact. There was no significant increase in sales from May 1 to 23,” he said as quoted by recently.

The protest by supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Uno on May 21 and 22 led to clashes between protesters and the police. At least eight people were killed and 200 others wounded.

The protest was triggered by the announcement of the reelection of incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo by the General Elections Commission on May 21.

Budihardjo expressed hope that the political conditions ahead of Idul Fitri on June 5 would be calm and help increase sales.

He said sales had started growing significantly in the last week. He said during Ramadan and Idul Fitri, sales could be twice or three times higher than regular days, but the recent riot had curbed sales growth.

“We expect that up to the end of the seasonal holiday, we can sell twice as much as [regular days],” he added.

This year, Hippindo targets 15 percent sales growth. Budihardjo said the target could be achieved as long as political conditions were stable. (bbn)