Consumers shop at a supermarket (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Mekong Delta is emerging as a destination for both domestic and foreign retail companies who have spotted potential in the local retail market, the Cong Thuong (Industry & Trade) newspaper reported.

Major retailers such as Lotte (the Republic of Korea), Saigon Co.op, Big C and Vingroup have been present in the Mekong Delta with Sense City, Vincom, Lotte Mart and Co.opmart supermarkets.

Can Tho city – the centre of the Mekong Delta – is now home to 18 supermarkets and shopping malls, 18 convenience stores, and a number of food stores.

The Saigon Trading Group (SATRA) said it plans to form a big retail system in Can Tho. In the near future, it will open Satrafoods – a food store chain and later develop Centre Mall shopping centres and Satramart supermarkets here.

Huynh Trung Tru, Deputy Director of the Can Tho municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said the city’s turnover of retail goods and services revenue is expected to surpass 105 trillion VND (4.6 billion USD) this year, up 9.87 percent from 2016.

Since the year’s beginning, Dong Thap province has permitted the construction of a shopping centre named Shophouse Sa Dec of Vincom Retail and two Co.opmart supermarkets of Saigon Co.op.

In other provinces such as An Giang, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh and Ca Mau, investment is also being poured strongly into modern retail channels such as supermarkets and convenience stores.

Deputy Director General of Saigon Co.op Nguyen Anh Duc said his firm put Sense City Ca Mau in Ca Mau province into operation in late May. This is the third shopping malls of Saigon Co.op in the Mekong Delta. Aside from shopping malls, Saigon Co.op has also built 20 Co.opmart supermarkets across the region.

The company is stepping up capitalising on the Mekong Delta’s retail market due to improving living standards of local residents and authorities’ favourable conditions for investment in supermarkets. It will continue seeking suitable locations in the region to open more supermarkets in the time ahead, he added.

According to the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region, the expansion of the retail system in the Mekong Delta has gradually changed locals’ shopping habits.

However, there still exist obstacles to the attraction of retail investment there.

Le Huu Tinh, Marketing Director of Emart Vietnam, said despite substantial improvement, infrastructure in the Mekong Delta is still limited, which will raise delivery costs. Poor roads will also affect consumers’ access to shopping places.

At the same time, the local distribution system lacks connectivity and traditional wet markets, numbering about 1,800 across the region, are still popular. Therefore, Mekong Delta localities should swiftly address those shortcomings to bolster their retail market, many economic experts said.-VNA