Well-stocked supermarkets but few buyers


SUPERMARKETS here are surprisingly well-stocked.

Del Monte Tomato Sauce. Taikoo King Sugar. Maestro French Dressing. And even Gravenstein Apple Sauce.

They are all there beside staples such as rice, eggs, cooking-oil, salt and noodles.

One problem though. There are very few buyers.

A Straits Times check on two supermarkets and several provision stores in Bandarlampung found that sales and profits had dropped by at least a third since the economic crisis.

“People prefer to just window shop rather than buy any goods because their purchasing power has dropped a great deal,” said deputy manager Hasan Syamsuddin of Artomoro’s, the city’s largest supermarket.

He said that Artomoro’s was not replenishing its food stocks, particularly imported items, given the slow sales.

“Some of my stocks were bought during the Christmas period and are still here. What’s the point getting more when people are not buying anything?” he said.

He noted that before the crisis, he could expect to sell nearly 2,000 packets of Indomie noodles a month.

Now that figure has dropped to 500.

Supermarkets here have had no problems getting local produce.

Said supervisor Anwar Andreas at the Chandra Plaza supermarket: “It was much more difficult earlier this year because of the drought.

“Then demand was high and supply short. Now it is the other way around.”

Once a hub of business activity, supermarkets are now a ghost of their former selves.

A midday visit to Chandra’s found fewer than 10 customers being served by almost 20 staff.

Two smaller supermarkets have gone bust in the city as a result of the crisis and several provision stores have closed.

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