| Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street. — Photo zing
HCM CITY (VNS) — Since the opening of Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in downtown HCM City a few weeks ago, shops along the street, with the exception of restaurants, have seen sales decline.
The shops had already begun to lose revenue when construction started on the underground station for the Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien Metro line last July.
The busy trading atmosphere on the street has not resumed, shopowners have said.
A shopowner named Van told online website VNExpress that she thought sales would improve after nine months of construction but in the last 10 days, she had sold nothing.
She estimated that the number of customers visiting her shop had fallen at least 70 percent compared to nine months ago.
The owner of an eyeglass shop on the street said she would move to another location if business did not pick up within two months.
Previously, she had three employees. But she recently terminated their contracts as her shop was not earning enough money.
Cuc, an owner of a camera shop that has been on the street for 20 years, also had to dismiss two of her four employees due to declining sales.
She is considering a move to another location as the street is no longer an ideal place for trading, she said.
"If I'm lucky, one week my shop sells a few pieces of camera equipment," she said.
Nguyen Van Lam, who sells paintings at a shop along the street, said rent on the street was high and that most buyers were foreign visitors.
However, the number of tourists to the street has also declined in recent weeks as tour buses carrying visitors have been avoiding the street.
Like the other two shopowners, Lam had to lay off one of his employees to reduce his financial burden.
The street, which has a broad pedestrian area in the middle, still functions as a road for vehicles.
There are traffic lanes along the side of the long "pedestrian square", which extends the length of the street.
The lanes, however, are closed from 7pm to 6am, and on Saturday and Sunday.
Most shopowners on the street complain that the authorities have not done a good job of informing people about the hours. Customers often do not return because they mistakenly believe traffic on the roads is prohibited.
Although many of the retail shops have seen a drop in sales, shops selling food and drinks, especially in the evening, are experiencing a rise in customers. — VNS