Peak season comes, but HCM City consumers not buying

The year-end peak season is approaching but sales of consumer goods have not seen the usual sharp rise.

But supermarkets have as usual increased stocks of popular items by two to three times for the New Year, both western and Vietnamese.

Co.opmart said it would stock 110,000 tons of goods for the three months straddling Lunar New Year, which falls on January 29, an increase of 15 per cent from last year, or VND3 trillion (US$135 million), mostly in the form of beverages, beers, fruits and vegetables.
It has worked closely with suppliers to increase supply of essential items by two to four times.

At a meeting with a HCM City People’s Council task force set up to monitor inventories of consumer goods for the Lunar New Year, Nguyen Vu Toan, business director of Sai Gon Co.op – which owns Co.opmart – said while the supermarket plans to have huge quantities of stocks, he is worried demand might fall below expectations.

Sai Gon Co.op has been working with suppliers to offer promotions to stimulate consumption, he said.

“We will increase our opening hours and the number of counters to serve customers.”
For the second year Co.opmart will offer free delivery of gift baskets for Lunar New Year in any province or city where it has a store.

Big C, another major supermarket chain, is expected to increase stocks by 20 – 30 per cent for Lunar New Year.

It has announced prices would remain unchanged until the end of January except those of vegetables, fresh and frozen foods, beers, wines and milk.

It also announced a no-profit promotion for 30 essential items like sugar, egg, fish, meat, and cooking oil.

Major producers and distributors like Sai Gon Trade Corporation, Sai Gon Agriculture Corporation, Ba Huân, San Hà, and Pham Ton have 80 per cent of the goods contracted for the Lunar New Year in stock.

But consumers are not buying like they usually do. At many malls and markets, the number of shoppers, while up, has not reached expected levels.

“Noisy promotions are the best way to improve consumption, especially during the peak season,” the communication director of a shopping mall said.

The city Industry and Trade Department revealed that in January there would be 1,500 promotions for drinks, candies, cookies and clothes.

Businesses that have signed up for the annual market stabilisation programme will cut by 5 – 10 per cent the prices of eggs, pork, poultry, sugar, cooking oil, food, vegetables and seafood.

According to the city People’s Committee, since the Lunar New Year comes shortly after the western New Year this time, consumption is expected to increase by 15 – 20 per cent year-on-year from the middle of January.


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