I know the last thing Jakarta needs is another new department store, but really, I’m happy to make an exception for this one:
Located at Jakarta’s Pacific Plaza, the concept behind this four-storey is “One Day in Paris.” It has carefully curated its interior design to hearken to its French roots, hoping to take visitors on a stroll around Paris without needing to make the journey to Soekarno-Hatta. Galeries Lafayette is an institution back in its homeland in France, where it was first established in 1894. The women’s department of its Jakarta branch carries seminal brands not unfamiliar to fashionistas: in addition to an impressive lineup of Indonesian labels (Stella Rissa, Studio 133 by Biyan, and more), they’ve also brought in Vero Moda, Elie Tahari (aaah!), Sonia Rykel, and much, much more. Their lingerie department is especially drool-worthy, with brands like Agent Provocateur, Pleasure State Couture, and Scandale flying the flag. You beauty fanatics will not be left in the cold too: it has dedicated 420 sq m to skincare and makeup, carrying heavy-lifters in the industry alongside their more obscure competitors.
While all this is fine and dandy, tiny red flags flew up in my head. I immediately thought about the short-lived existence of upmarket UK department store Harvey Nichols, which locked up its shutters in Grand Indonesia back in 2010 after just two years of operations. I’m sure their quick departure from Indonesia was just a case of bad timing. 2009 was a difficult year for the Indonesian economy: after two consecutive years of GDP growth hovering in the 6% region, this number took a hit from decreasing international demand following the banking failure of 2007/2008. So it’s not that Jakartans could not afford to spend money, they were just a little more wary about doing so.
But I’m hoping this will not be the case for Galeries Lafayette. They entered the Jakarta market during a time of rising consumption, employment, and minimum wage. Not only that, I found that their price points are friendlier and more wide-ranging than what Harvey Nichols offered. Its warm interiors and budget-friendly tenants are bound to attract the 700,000 visitors it projects to see.
And if all that shopping has worn you out, sit down for a coffee, wine, pasta, or pastry at one of Galeries Lafayette’s four cafes and restaurants! In an effort to manifest a complete lifestyle brand, the department store will open four warm and cozy eateries in an effort to remain consistent to its “One Day in Paris” concept. It’s perfect, really: there’s no better way to recharge than downing an espresso before you hit the rack again.
With a rich slew of great international department stores and fast-fashion retailers cropping up everywhere, Jakarta is giving her people fewer and fewer reasons to go over to Singapore or Bangkok to go shopping. Do you think Galeries Lafayette is a place you will be visiting often?