Big retailers make beeline for southern industrial hub

By Vien Thong   August 11, 2023 | 02:44 am PT
Big retailers make beeline for southern industrial hub
Customers buy food in an Aeon compact supermarket in southern Binh Duong province. Photo courtesy of Aeon Vietnam
Its booming economy, favorable demographics and location close to Ho Chi Minh City make Binh Duong Province a “magnet” for foreign and domestic retailers.

Aeon Vietnam’s compact general merchandise store and supermarket, after being launched in Hanoi last year, made an appearance in Binh Duong, a key industrial hub in southern Vietnam, late last month.

The supermarket covers an area of 5,000 square meters with a shopping area and a food court serving Vietnamese, Japanese, South Korean, and Thai foods.

Furusawa Yasuyuki, general director of Aeon Vietnam, said the city was chosen to debut the compact supermarket model in the south because of its economic potential and population.

Binh Duong has also attracted other modern retailers like Central Retail, Mega Market and Lotte. Many retail and service brands, not considered affordable for most local people, have also come here in recent times.

After opening stores in HCMC, Hanoi and Hai Phong, Uniqlo has one in Binh Duong. Having just opened its first outlet in June, the Japanese fashion retailer said it would open a second this fall or winter, its 20th in Vietnam.

Starbucks, with its expensive beverages, opened its third store in Binh Duong late last month.

Glam Beautique, which sells health and beauty products, chose the province to open its eighth store in the country.

According to experts, one of the biggest attractions of Binh Duong is its market size. Its total retail sales of consumer goods and services have risen by 12.4% year-on-year in 2023 to VND174.82 trillion (US$7.4 billion), only behind HCMC (VND660 trillion) and Hanoi (VND433 trillion).

In terms of growth rate, it has lagged only Da Nang (22%) and Hai Phong (13.6%).

Binh Duong’s demographics are notable. Do Thi Xuan Trang, retail services manager at real estate services consultancy Colliers Vietnam, said one of the advantages for retail in Binh Duong is that while it ranks only sixth in terms of population in the country, its per capita income is the highest at VND8.076 million per month.

"The young and abundant human resources with high qualifications and skills increase the demand for housing and other needs such as shopping, entertainment, healthcare, and education," she said.

Binh Duong is a "magnet," which lures investors and retail brands because of its socioeconomic development and infrastructure, she added.

Binh Duong is home to 30 industrial parks and 12 industrial clusters. More than 3,400 foreign firms have invested $40 billion in 4,121 projects.

Uniqlo said its position as a new industrial center with excellent infrastructure is an advantage for Binh Duong.

According to Colliers, the retail real estate market in Binh Duong is second only to HCMC, and it will become the ideal destination when the latter is unable to meet demand.

Trang said the province is close enough for people to travel without much difficulty but far enough to avoid competition from commercial centers in Ho Chi Minh City.

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