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Vietnam still charms retailer's eyes

Vietnam remains an attractive destination for foreign and domestic retailers, despite softening retail markets worldwide.
Japan’s Aeon announced plans to build two commercial centres, set to open in 2014. The first project is in Ho Chi Minh City with $109 million investment, the second is in Binh Duong province’s Thuan An district, with a total investment capital of $95 million.

General director of Aeon Vietnam Nishitohge Yasuo, claimed that only after successfully implementing one first project in Ho Chi Minh City, Aeon Vietnam would build another commercial centre. Hence, Aeon’s progress of opening new retail centres in Vietnam is faster than initially planned.

Lotte Mart, the second biggest retailer in Korea, also aims to grow its presence in Vietnam.

It hopes to expand its system from two existing trade centres to 60 in 2020. As planned, the average investment capital for each Lotte Mart’s trade centre would be about $20 to $40 million. Especially, Lotte will accelerate the Hanoi Lotte Centre project, anticipated to open in 2013, with a total investment of $400 million.

Pham Dinh Doan, CEO of local distributor Phu Thai Group, said inflation and price fluctuations have affected trade centre projects, but the most important factor to implement these projects was to find a good premises. This is considered a weakness of domestic retailers and Phu Thai will focus on expanding its convenience store chain, which will be appropriate to its capital and management level.

Dinh Anh Huan, marketing director of Mobile World, concurrently general director of the nationwide electronics retail system Dienmay.com, said that domestic firms needed to take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen and raise their status.

“Domestic businesses need to take cautious steps so that their developments are adequate to their potential, especially since the current economy is unpredictably volatile,” Huan said.

According to US-based A.T.Kearney Global Management Consultancy Group, Vietnam did not appear in the list of top 30 most attractive retail markets in the globe in 2012. In 2008, Vietnam ranked first among the most attractive retail markets in the world. Since then, its ranking sank continually.

A.T Kearney’s ranking may be a valuable reference for investors planning to invest in Vietnam, but it does not affect investors who have already researched the retail market.

(Source: VIR)

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