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Spring fest signals shopping spree of sorts

 Photo: Lunar New Year sales hope. (Courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
 Lunar New Year sales hope. (Photo courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
The Tet Nguyen Dan, being the same celebration of spring as the Lunar New Year in China, is equally as significant for Vietnam when it comes to consumer sales.

With the tug of ancestral memories, there's great attention to cleaning homes and kitchens followed by preparation of great meals. So items like cleaners, flowers, bonsai apricot and kumquat trees, pickled onions, watermelon and pumpkin seeds - along with chickens, rice and decorations - are on sale everywhere.

In fact, Vietnamese consumers have begun the holiday shopping spree already, aiming for products at reasonable prices and discounts.

At grocery stores and traditional markets, consumers are appearing more generous when it comes to confectionery, beer, soft drinks and dried products.

Consumers actually prefer reasonably-priced, home-made goods to luxury imported ones but will be swayed on price.

But most traders identify sales volumes as significantly lower this year than last. Shoppers are switching to supermarkets. Economic uncertainties have led them to cut spending.

All retailers hope the situation will get better over the next few days, when labourers enjoy their holidays and do more shopping.

At supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City, the number of shoppers is apparently rising, especially in the evenings.

Products such as houseware and clothes are selling well. Those stores with bigger discounts are much better frequented.

Supermarket chains are also making the most of the better stream of customers by extending their opening hours.

To help small traders, the management boards of nearly 50 traditional markets and wet markets in Ho Chi Minh City are allowing traders to sell goods on market frontages and in empty spaces until midnight on each night, with many items for sale being clothing and shoes.

The city will be in full celebratory mood over the Lunar New Year period, with eight fireworks performances, the centrepiece being on the Saigon River.

The Vietnam Exhibition Fair Centre (VEFAC) has already hosted one event, which included food, pottery and porcelain products as well as decorations and electronic devices as a means of boosting confidence for shopping.

from Nguyen Quoc Uy, Ho Chi Minh City Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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