Fashion shops offered enticing discounts as the year ended, but they failed to attract customers, showing that consumers are keeping their wallets zipped during the economic recession despite big discounts.
Nguyen Nhu Mai, owner of online shop Maccy Fashion, slashed prices by 30-50 per cent with the hope that people would buy new outfits to welcome the Lunar New Year next month. But even prices of VND100,000-200,000 (US$4.7-9.5) were not enough to lure new customers.
On the capital's "fashion streets", the situation is similar. Mai Thi Hue, owner of a shop on Chua Boc Street in Ha Noi's Dong Da District, said that she and her neighbours hung discount signs in front of their stores. However, her felt coats and skirts, marked as made-in-Viet Nam high-quality goods for export and costing only VND180,000-250,000 ($8.5-12), attracted only window shoppers.
"I earned less from selling clothes than I paid to rent the shop," she said.
Office worker Nguyen Thu Hien, 35, said she went to a shop on Chua Boc Street planning to buy some clothes after hearing about the 10-50 per cent sale there.
"However, the clothes with a 10 per cent discount were still too expensive for me, whereas the ones that were 50 per cent off were out of date and even too old and dirty to buy," she complained.
Branded goods in Viet Nam were always more expensive than in other countries, for instance in Thailand, Hien added.
"I think that to attract customers with discount campaigns, sellers should not mix low-quality and old clothes with normal ones and then advertise it as a sale. If customers don't see quality goods, they won't come back to the shop."
Customers would do better to order online from foreign websites during their year-end sale campaigns, she suggested. "That way, you can get products at high quality for reasonable prices."