Seasonal demand from school and university students for new apparel and footwear helped boost sales at PT Ramayana Lestari Sentosa. The retailer yesterday reported a 26 per cent increase year-on-year in sales to Rp650 billion (US$65 million) in the third quarter of this year.

In the first 9 months of this year, RALS' sales totalled Rp1.62 trillion, a 16 per cent rise from the same period last year. So far the company has met 55 per cent of its target for the whole of this year, and corporate Secretary Dwi Yanto said of management was confident that the sales target could be achieved.

Ramayana's strategy of focusing on the value market, selling low-priced essentials such as T-shirts and jeans while other retailers scrambled to capture the rapidly growing upper middle class, has helped it weather the economic crisis and has made it a favourite with foreign investors.