Waiting for customers
Prices of food and vegetables in many local markets have dropped against late June, but stalls continue to attract few customers.
Nguyen Thi Hau, a seller at Dich Vong wholesale market in Cau Giay District said, “Pork prices have fallen VND5,000 per kilo, but I’m still facing slow sales. These days, I’m buying half the amount of pork I did previously.”
The situation is the same at other traditional markets. Bui Thi Hien, a vegetable seller at Buoi Market in Ba Dinh Market, complained that the number of customers she has served has been on the decline. She sometimes has had to shoulder losses due to her stock going off.
Representatives from the management board of Phung Khoang and Dich Vong markets said that overall sales had decreased by around 30%.
Prices of vegetables have dropped VND500-1,000 per kilo. Egg prices have also tending to decline, to around VND200-300 each.
Other stalls such as footwear, clothes and household appliances have also faced a similar situation. At peak hours, customers can drive their bicycles or motorbikes around the often empty markets. Sellers gather to gossip, watch TV or read newspapers.
Van, a footwear seller, at Nghia Tan Market in Cau Giay District, moaned, “only a handful of cutomers come to the market these days, sometimes it seems the market is mostly traders.”
Traders throughout markets in the capital are serving just 2-3 customers per day. Modest profits are failing to cover stall rental fees, compelling many to cease trading, she added.
Revenues of traders at Dong Xuan, Hanoi’s central wholesale market have sharply decreased, with some stall holders suffering two-third declines in revenue. Some sellers only open their stalls at weekend.
Most of the sellers said slow sales were due to tightened spending. Consumers are prioritising staples before any other purchases. Supermarkets and trade centres however have launched big promotions, attracting more customers.
Le Thi Hoa, a customer at Nghia Tan Market, shared that her family has had to simplify their meals due to limited finances.
She previously would buy the whole chicken, but now opts for a few hundred grams a meal. Salaries have only marginally increased; encouraging people to take advantage of supermarket promotions and affecting traditional markets.