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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Retail sales plunge after years of solid growth

By Hung Le

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HCMC – The heavy impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to Vietnam’s retail sales dropping significantly after many years of double-digit growth.

Data of the General Statistics Office (GSO) of Vietnam showed that the country’s total retail sales of consumer goods and services from January to October reached VND3,720 trillion (US$162.4 billion), down 8.6% compared with the same period last year.

Food and foodstuffs were the only sector whose retail sales rose, with a year-on-year increase of 4.4%.

All other sectors suffered a decline in retail sales. Retail sales of vehicles; tools, equipment, home appliances, educational and cultural products; and clothes edged down 6.7%, 11.1% and 11.7% year-on-year, respectively.

HCMC, which always leads the country in retail sales, saw a year-on-year decline of 26.2% from January to October 2021. Retail sales of other big cities and provinces such as Can Tho, Hanoi and Khanh Hoa fell 4.8%, 4.4% and 18.6% against the same period last year, respectively.

Some localities enjoyed a slight increase in retail sales, including Danang (up 0.9% year-on-year), Dong Nai (up 3.7%), Binh Duong (up 6.4%) and Haiphong (up 8.7%).

Accommodation and catering services were the hardest hit sectors. From January to October, accommodation and catering revenues plunged 38.8% year-on-year in HCMC, 35.9% in Nghe An, 25% in Binh Duong, 22.8% in Dong Nai, 19.5% in Hanoi, 17.3% in Danang, 12.7% in Quang Ninh, 11.1% in Can Tho and 6.4% in Haiphong.

Travel revenues also dropped sharply in January-October, down 67.5% year-on-year in Thua Thien-Hue, 58% in HCMC, 53.4% in Danang, 49.9% in Haiphong, 45.7% in Hanoi, 41.5% in Quang Binh, 34.2% in Ba Ria-Vung Tau and 30.6% in Quang Ninh.

Travel restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 and lost incomes have negatively affected the retail market.

According to the General Statistics Office, the retail market always posted double-digit growth from 2016 to 2020.

The country’s retail sales were US$118 billion in 2016 (up 10.2% year-on-year), US$129.56 billion in 2017 (up 10.9%), US$142.8 billion in 2018 (up 12.4%), and US$161.7 billion in 2019 (up 12.7%).

In 2020, despite the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, total retail sales of consumer goods and services amounted to US$172 billion, up over US$11 billion from 2019.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control, many services have been allowed to reopen since early last month. The country’s total retail sales of consumer goods and services in October rose 18.1% month-on-month.

The General Statistics Office expected the resumption of economic activity and increasing demand in the year-end season would help the retail sector recover strongly.

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