HA NOI — Despite a decrease of 0.6 per cent in June, the retail sales value of goods and services in the first half of the year surged 6.5 per cent against the same period last year to VND1,137 trillion (US$54.2 billion), according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
|Customers shop at a trade fair in Ha Noi. Retail sales value of goods and services in the first half of the year surged 6.5 per cent against the same period last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hung
However, the rise was lower than the 7-10 per cent recorded in the same period in recent years.
Among the total, trade made up VND880.7 trillion ($41.93 billion), followed by the hotel-restaurant sector, which was worth VND132.8 trillion ($6.32 billion).
GSO expert Vu Manh Ha attributed the decline to slow economic growth, high interest rates and stagnancy in production, which had affected spending power.
Ha forecast that the sale of goods and services would improve in the second half of the year thanks to the Government's stimulus programmes. To boost production and consumption, the Government recently cut interest rates and approved a VND29 trillion ($1.4 billion) tax break package to support businesses.
Though Viet Nam was no longer among the 30 most attractive retail markets in the world as listed by A T Kearney, experts said the domestic market still had great potential in the eyes of retailers.
Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, owner of the CitiMart chain, said the report by A T Kearney would in no way affect foreign investors' plans to penetrate the Vietnamese market.
Hoa said some foreign distributors had attempted to penetrate the Vietnamese market through CitiMart, as had occurred with a number of retailers in Singapore.
The Vietnamese market was one of the most dynamic among newly emerging economies in Southeast Asia and had a number of attractive advantages, Hoa said. The country had seen average economic growth of 7.3 per cent over the last 20 years, which had led to improved living standards. That had resulted in increased purchasing power, she said.
Pascal Billaud, general director of Big C Viet Nam, told Saigon Economic Times that modern retail channels held just 20 per cent of the total distribution market. That meant there were great opportunities ahead for investors, he said.
This was why Big C, Parkson, Metro Cash&Carry, Lotte Mart, and Family had been trying to expand their chains, while new distributors such as Aeon and E-Mart, were looking to move into Viet Nam, Billaud said. — VNS