Jan 25, 2013

Vietnam - In sale season, commercial hubs keep quiet, shops poorly patronized

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VietNamNet Bridge – No one could imagine before that commercial streets in HCM City close the doors prior to 8 pm, because the sellers do not hope to have more buyers after that time.

It is always very crowded outside the Tax trade center. People from the suburbs come here to do shopping, travelers come walk on streets and take pictures.

However, it is very quiet inside the shopping mall. Very few people visit there, and only a few of them buy something, while the others simply make window shopping. The salesmen here now do not have to show their warmth to the visitors, because the people do not intend to spend money to buy their products.

Nguyen Trai Street in district 5 in HCM City, which is called the “fashion street for teenagers, has been strangely quiet. In previous years, traffic jam usually occurred on the streets, since the days before Tet. However, things are quite different now.

The owner of a shop here said she would be happy if she can sell five trousers a day. “In the past, the products sold very well, about 30-40 products were sold a day,” she explained. “So now I decide to close the shop at 10 pm, to save electricity”.

The Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in district 5 gathers nearly ten of shops which provide decorative things. A saleswoman here said that since there have been few buyers these days, the owner of the shop allows her to go home soon, at 9 pm.

Nguyen Quoc Hung, who has been working as a taxi motorbike driver over the last 15 years, has noted that Saigonese nowadays seem to go to bed earlier than in previously.

“In the past, I still got customers at 11-12 pm, while it’s difficult to find customers after 9 pm now,” he complained.

Pointing to the fashion shops on Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, Hung said: “The shops are going to close the doors in some minutes, because Saigonese would not go out after 9 pm.”

Hung recalled the days when the city was very noisy at night. Since people earned money well, they spent time on bars, restaurants until late at night. The restaurants on Thanh Thai street in district 10, Cong Hoa, Truong Chinh in Tan Binh district, Phan Van Tri in Go Vap, and Trung Son in district 7 were always crowded at night.

However, the picture has fallen into oblivion. Tan Hoang Lan restaurant in Tan Binh and Rieu Dong in Phu Nhuan district have been shut down. The Hai Lua restaurant, known as a high end restaurant, now tries to attract popular customers as well.

Home One, a big home appliance center in Go Vap district, opens from early in the morning till night, but it receives only some tens of customers a day.

Everything is getting more and more expensive in the city. Two beef steaks, one glass of fruit juice and a glass of ice cream alone would cost VND120,000. Two bottles of purified water and two maize ears would cost VND26,000. These were the expenses a couple in Tan Binh district spent for a stroll on streets. The husband, who has the high income of VND20 million dong a month, said that he has to save money because he needs money to go to the home village this Tet.

“Practicing thrift is the thing everyone should do now. Buy only the things needed right now, because you are not sure if you have jobs tomorrow,” he said.

Higher prices of goods, lower income and latent risk of becoming redundant all have forced people to cut down expenses.


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