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Prices skyrocketing, people window shopping   2009-04-16 - VietNamNet

Traditional markets, supermarts and shopping centres these days are still full of visitors, but see few buyers. Skyrocketing prices and decreasing incomes have forced citizens to tighten their purse strings.


Markets have few buyers


Manh, a petty merchant at Ba Chieu Market in HCM City, said that the market is only bustling early in the morning, when housewives purchase food for the day. After that, the market becomes quiet.


Meat and fish stalls, which have been relying on loyal customers, also complain that sales are down by a half.


Manh said that though her fruit is very good and she always gives additional lemons or chilies to buyers, she only sells some 10 kg of fruit of different kinds.


When asked about business, the owner of a flower shop, which is located in an advantageous position on Bach Dang street, said briefly: “Terrible”.


The quietness can also been seen at Thi Nghe market. The market’s management board said that fresh food like meat and fish have been selling very slowly, while the volume of food brought to the market has decreased by 15% from last month. The higher fuel price has led to sea fish prices increasing by VND1,000-2,000/kg. As sales have been slow, petty merchants hesitate to buy goods to retail.


Ben Thanh and Tan Dinh markets are experiencing much of the same. Stalls are full of buyers from 8-9 am everyday, and then are deserted the rest of the day. Fresh meat and fish, good vegetables and fruits displayed at stalls cannot persuade people to spend money.


Nga, who sells pork at Tan Dinh market, said that as prices have increased, her clients only purchase the cheapest items.


According to Ngoc Huong, the owner of a fruit stall at Tan Dinh market, it seems that people now tend to go shopping at supermarts, where they can enjoy big promotion programmes. However, Huong also said that the main reason behind the slow sales is that people have been tightening their purse strings.


The fruit prices at traditional markets in HCM City on April 15 saw a 20% increase over late last week. Pomelo was selling for VND16,000-18,000/kg, mango VND25,000/kg, melon VND4,000-12,000/kg, while the prices of other fruits are also higher than some days ago.


Supermarts having the same problem


Supermarts have also reported sharp decreases in sales in recent months. The long queues of buyers waiting to pay seen several months ago on Saturdays or Sundays have disappeared.


Thien Hoa, Nguyen Kim, Cho Lon and Ideas, big home appliance centres, have advertised that they are offering the best prices on computers, TVs and mobile phones. However, noisy advertisement campaigns and attractive price discounts have not been able to help boost sales.


Hoa, who lives in district 3, HCM City, related that he planned to buy an LCD TV a long time ago. Hoa said that though the price has dropped to VND10mil, which seems to fit his pocket, he still does not want to spend money at this moment. Explaining this, he said that there are many other things he needs.


Huynh Huu Tuan, Manager of Chu Van An Citimart in Binh Thanh district, related that sales have dropped by 30% in comparison with pre-Tet days.


A representative of Intimex supermart chain said that previously, a buyer spent the average of VND200,000 every shopping visit, while he only pays VND100,000 now.


At Co-op Mart, commodity prices have increased by 10-15% since the multiple petrol price increases. Pham Thi Thanh Huyen, Marketing Director of Co-op mart, said that buyers’ receipts clearly show the 30% decrease in spending.


The Hanoi supermart has reported that the number of buyers at the supermart has decreased by 20%.


The decreasing sales have urged supermarts to launch promotion programmes to boost sales. However, Vu Kim Hanh, Director of BSA, a business consultancy centre, said that it is necessary not only to intensify promotion campaigns, but also change the way the campaigns are implemented.


Hanh said that consumers nowadays do not prefer gifts or free vacations; they prefer products with low prices. Therefore, Hanh said, the distributors who offer the best prices will be able to lure customers.


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