Big C makes U-turn, not to suspend procurement of Vietnamese garments

By Nguyen Hoai   July 4, 2019 | 08:39 pm PT
Big C makes U-turn, not to suspend procurement of Vietnamese garments
Big C was halting all procurement from Vietnamese suppliers. Photo by Shutterstock/Dilok Klaisataporn.
Central Group, which owns Big C Vietnam, has changed its mind about suspending local apparel procurement, saying orders would resume immediately.

The Thai group said it would immediately place orders with 50 out of 200 contracted garment suppliers and negotiate to renew contracts with another 100 within two weeks. But it would have to work closely with the other 50, who had not met their commitments earlier, it said.

Big C announced Tuesday night it was halting all procurement from Vietnamese suppliers until further notice to restructure its garment business.

At a meeting on Thursday, Central Group signed a non-binding agreement with the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) allowing the latter to step in and help resolve disputes with suppliers.

Le Viet Nga, deputy director of the domestic market department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said: "Central Group did not have complaints about the quality of Vietnamese garments, but was shifting to a new, high-quality business strategy, and so had to restructure its business.

Later on Thursday Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh revealed that the government has directed the ministry to investigate BigC for discriminating against Vietnamese goods. 

He had been apprised in the past about Big C’s discrimination, he added without elaborating. 

Central Group, Thailand's largest retailer, bought Big C Vietnam from France's Casino Group in 2016 for over $1 billion. It is planning to build more shopping malls and upgrade existing supermarkets into high-end retail centers.

Between now and 2021 it plans to make 13 of 34 Big C supermarkets larger and more modern at a cost of $30 million.

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