Soy milk chain withdraws from HCMC

By Vien Thong   May 13, 2021 | 10:41 am GMT+7
Soy milk chain withdraws from HCMC
The recently closed Soya Garden store in HCMC’s District 1. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Hien.
Organic soy milk chain Soya Garden has closed its last store in HCMC and now operates solely in Hanoi.

The store in District 1 was its flagship and 50th store, and had opened in July 2019. The chain has also closed all its stores in Hai Phong, Da Nang and Nha Trang.

Talking to VnExpress, a spokesperson for Egroup, which owns Soya Garden, said the closures are part of a plan to cut rents and labor costs.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumer behavior, and they are buying products online more than from traditional stores, and so renting costly properties is unnecessary, the spokesperson added.

Soya Garden was founded in 2016 by Hoang Anh Tuan and his sister Hoang Thu Thuy, who believed that organic soy milk would become a popular choice in the country. Besides, there were no major chains selling soy beverages at that time.

They raised VND20 billion ($869,500) from the chairman of Egroup, Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, after participating in the business reality show Shark Tank in 2018.

Egroup injected another VND25 billion in early 2019, enabling the startup to expand to 30 stores nationwide.

In the same year it invested another VND55 billion, and Soya Garden had 50 stores by July 2019, and targeted doubling it by year end and having 300 by 2021.

But soon it started closing stores, and the number fell rapidly to 17 by August 2020, the month in which Tuan resigned as CEO.

Egroup said the eight stores still operating in Hanoi "are the most efficient."

Soya Garden is developing an online selling channel, distributing through food delivery services such as Grab Food, Now, Foody, and Baemin.

It plans to develop the Soya Bistro chain to sell food in addition to soy beverages since such stores have become popular in large cities like Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang.

"Due to the impact of the pandemic, many businesses, including Soya Garden, have reduced the scale of their operations to adapt," Egroup said.

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