Retail giants eye expansion as economy recovers

Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo said it will open a store this week at Vincom Ba Trieu mall in Hanoi and two more at Vincom Royal City and Vincom Tran Duy Hung to bring its total number of stores in Vietnam to 15 three years after entering the country.

Earlier this month, Central Retail in Thailand, owner of hypermarket and retail chain GO!, said it planned to more than double the number of outlets in the country from 340 currently at 710 by 2026.

It will spend 30 billion baht ($790 million) on the expansion, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

It is targeting sales of 100 billion baht by 2026, up from 38.6 billion baht currently, said Olivier Langlet, CEO of Central Retail Vietnam.

South Korea’s Lotte, which has invested $5 billion in Vietnam, plans to set up a shopping mall in Hanoi, President Shin Dong-bin said in late August during a meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Car assembler THACO plans to open an E-mart supermarket at Sala Thu Thiem in HCMC this month. He already has a store in the city’s Go Vap district, which saw sales of VND 1.6 trillion ($68.5 million) last year.

South Korean company E-mart entered Vietnam in 2015 and its local operations were acquired by automaker THACO last year under a franchise agreement, which stipulates that at least 20 stores must be open by 2026.

Vietnamese supermarket chains such as Nova Market and WinMart+ are doing well.

This year, Vietnam has attracted a lot of FDI in the wholesale and retail sectors, and more retailers have leased space from HCMC in the face of growing demand.

According to the General Bureau of Statistics, total retail sales of consumer goods and services in the first nine months jumped 21% year-on-year to over VND 4.17 quadrillion.

Analysts said the retail sector recovered quickly after the Covid-19 pandemic was brought under control.

Colliers, a global property services provider, said the fact that some international agencies raised their forecasts for Vietnam’s GDP growth sent a positive signal to major retail brands.

Vietnam is expected to become the world’s 10th largest consumer market by 2030, overtaking Germany and the UK, HSBC Vietnam CEO Tim Evans told an economic forum in September.

In Asia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and India will see the largest increases in consumer spending this decade.

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