Foreign Retailers to move in on Vietnam

HCM City (VNA) - The German-based Metro Cash & Carry said it plans to expand its wholesale-retail network from five to 12 soon. France’s Big C is set to open more outlets and the Republic of Korea (RoK)- based Lotte Mart Group will soon launch its 2nd supermarket in HCMC. GS Retail (RoK), plans to open 10 shopping centers in Binh Duong province in the next 2 years. But while foreign enterprises are scrambling to expand their presence in Vietnam, local rivals appear to be lax.

Co-op Mart had said earlier it plans to open 10 new outlets this year, but by the end of August it has opened only four. The Vietnam Textile and Garment Corp (Vinatex) had announced plans for nearly 100 new supermarkets by 2010, but has not opened even one in recent months. Domestic supermarkets blamed their sluggishness on high inflation, property market volatility and rising construction material prices.

With Vietnam having to fulfill its WTO market-opening commitments by the end of next year, domestic firms have to brace for stiff competition from better equipped foreign investors.

This year, Vietnam has overtaken India as the most attractive emerging retail market destination, according to the Global Retail Development Index released by A.T. Kearney. In the first half of this year retail sales in Vietnam were worth 27 billion USD, an increase of 30 percent over the same period last year, (General Statistics Office). The country’s retail sales are set to grow at 13.6 percent annually between 2008 and 2012, according to RNCOS.


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