Spending on goods, services up 27.4% in January
|Customers at Metro An Phu supermarket in HCM City. Purchasing power is surging as Tet draws even closer. — VNS Photo Thanh Vu|
HA NOI — The Industry and Trade Ministry estimates that revenue for goods and services throughout Viet Nam totalled VND76 trillion (US$4.7 billion) last month, 27.4 per cent more than January 2007.
Revenue for January was also up by 4.7 per cent against December 2007 – again spurred by Tet demand.
Supermarkets report that spending has increased by three to four folds during the past week.
The Saigon Co.op puts the increases at 2.5 times higher than a normal day and 35 per cent more than the last lunar new year.
The number of customers had increased sharply since the beginning of the week, said Saigon Co.op deputy director Le Thi Quynh Chi.
“We had to increase the number of cashiers and extend trading hours so that we closed only when there were no customers,” she said.
Other supermarkets such as Metro, Maximark, Citimart and Big C report the same pre-Tet rush.
Don’t cut in
The scramble in some supermarkets has become so intense that customers elbow each other aside to make their choices or queue to pay.
Cashiers are aggrieved by customers who pay with time-consuming plastic.
Electronics shops are also jammed.
Demand for high-tech products such as LCD TVs and washing machines has increased by between 100 and 200 per cent, reports HCM City’s Sai Gon-Nguyen Kim Electronic Supermarket.
Customers who want to reward themselves and their families with new consumer goods after a hard year’s work is driving the demand.
But market promotions with the offer of bargains – by VND1.3 million to VND1.7 million ($100) for LCD TVs – has fuelled the spree.
And if the cost of electronic goods has fallen, the price of food keeps rising.
The price of meat has risen by 15 to 25 per cent and poultry by 35 per cent. Vegetables too are more expensive.
“I feel dizzy at the market,” said Dieu Linh of Thanh Luong Commune.
“The prices rise every day,” she said. “Previously, VND50,000 a day was enough but now my family needs VND150,000.”
Ha Noi Supermarket Association chairman Vu Vinh Phu confirmed that the price had risen two or three folds against last Tet.
He attributed the rise to the continuing cold weather and higher demand.
The city’s retail markets were supplied by small rural traders which made it difficult to peg prices, he said.
The Ha Noi Trade Department says prices will continue to increase because some goods are made from imported material.
But supermarket managers are confident there will be no shortages.
“We forecast that spending would increase by 55 to 70 per cent so that we stocked extra confectionery, drinks and fresh food, said Nguyen Van Huong of the city’s Big C supermarket.
“We prepared for Tet two months ago,” said Dinh Thi Nga of Intimex Ha Noi. “We can ensure the quantity and quality of goods but not the price.”
Demand has been so high at HCM City supermarkets in the last week that at peak hours some customers have abandoned their places in line because of the long wait.
Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, Saigon Co.op general director, said that as of January 30 the Co.op Mart chain’s sales had increased threefold compared with early last month, with sales meeting at least 60 per cent of the target for the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet.
At Maximark, Citimart, Big C and Ha Noi supermarkets in HCM City, shoppers are buying jam, candy, wine and coke in mass quantities.
Major markets in HCM City like Binh Dien, Cho Lon, An Dong, Ben Thanh and Ba Chieu have also been bustling with buyers in recent days, many of them overseas Vietnamese.
A small shop trader at Ba Chieu Market said: “In recent days sales have gone up by 40 per cent for the most popular items.
“My regular customers like to buy food from me by phone to avoid the jostling at the market.” — VNS