Hanoi garment shops struggle to attract customers despite big discounts

By Anh Tu, Phuong Anh   September 30, 2021 | 08:08 pm PT
Hanoi garment shops struggle to attract customers despite big discounts
An empty women's fashion store in Hanoi, Sept. 30, 2021, next to a place with a ‘premises for rent’ sign. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Tu
Fashion stores in Hanoi are slashing prices to attract customers as they reopen after two months at the conclusion of a city social distancing mandate.

Dozens of shops on Nguyen Trai, Cau Giay, Kim Ma, Hue Street, and Chua Boc Street have signs saying ‘sales’. Most offer 50-70 percent discounts on all products, but footfall is still low, their owners said two days after reopening.

Hoang, the owner of an export garments shop in Dong Da District, said: "The store usually has sales of VND10 million ($431) per day when it offers discounts on end-of-summer clothes, but now it is only VND6 million."

But he did say the sale is late this year and in other years it started before Sept. 2. He was worried if he could earn enough money to import winter clothes since they are more expensive than summer clothes given the current difficult situation.

"I just hope that the pandemic is controlled in the near future so that the store can stabilize its business. In the last two months I received the government’s tax support for business households, but that is not enough to set off rent and overcome inventory."

Phuong, the owner of a women's fashion shop on O Cho Dua Street, said: "Before April 30, the shop was still doing well. But since then people have had no need to buy more clothes because they can't go anywhere".

She only opened for three days from Sept. 28 to try and sell the stocks of summer clothes she imported a few months ago before closing the shop and switching to online sales because of lack of demand and sales staff.

"Employees returned to their hometowns when the outbreak began (in late April) and are unable to return to Hanoi."

She said even if she hires new employees they need to be guided by the old staff and observed for two or three months before being given the store key.

Selling online has its share of problems like lack of delivery workers and high shipping prices, she said.

"If I don't import new goods, customers will not be interested in coming to the store, but there is no guarantee the new clothes will sell well. I really am at a loss."

Ha My has been selling online for several months, selling on Facebook and live-streaming support from her cousin twice a week.

She said she plans to sale her store on Cau Giay Street to focus on online selling, explaining: "The rent did not go down when the store closed and this stagnant business situation may last for a long time".

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