Foreign companies eye Vietnamese retail market

(VOV) - The Vietnamese retail market is attracting a number of foreign investors, including those from Thailand and Japan.

In its August 26 issue, Thailand’s “Nation” newspaper said Thai and Japanese firms have realised the potential in the Vietnamese market.

Retail business group Berli Jucket decided to acquire 65 percent of shares at Thai An Company which manages 41 “B’s mart” convenience stores in HCM City. It opened three more stores in August, bringing the total number of stores to 61 late this year.

Berli Jucket’s Vice President Phidsanu Pongwatana, said that compared to Thailand, which has fierce competition in price, Vietnam is seen as a potential market for the retail industry.

In its development plan, the group will open an additional 100 stores next year and 300 more in Hanoi and other big cities by 2015, Pongwatana noted.

Japanese retailer Aeon has also recently opened its national headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City and plans to run many retail stores, including convenience shops, shopping centres and supermarkets in Vietnam.

Last December, the company launched its first Mini Stop convenience store in Ho Chi Minh and is intent on running its first shopping centre in Hanoi next year.

Thailand's leading shopping mall developer, Central Pattana (CPN), is negotiating with a Vietnamese partner to develop its first shopping complex in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s250 convenience stores are being currently managed by different investors, such as Shop & Go (77 stores), Circle (50 stores), B's mart (44 stores), and Mini Stop (17 stores).

With as many as 800 modern trade stores in Vietnam, the country boasts great potential for modern traders to explore.

The convenience store business industry in the Asia-Pacific region grows by 12-15% while Vietnam’s annual consumer goods growth is estimated at around 23%.