Many shops in HCM City, where sales was sluggish during the Lunar New Year, are offering discounts and freebies to clear their stocks, Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper reported on Feb. 25.

The year's biggest shopping season was a damp squib this year since the Lunar New Year followed the other shopping main season – Christmas and New Year – too closely and people remained wary of the economic downturn.

Some supermarkets have large volumes of garments and other fashion items piled up on their shelves, and have launched big clearance sales.

Shops on fashion streets like Hai Ba Trung, Cao Thang, and Nguyen Trai have announced discounts of up to 75 percent.

Fashion brand Yes's is offering freebies like a belt for the purchase of a dress, an overcoat for buying two dresses, and a dress for a receipt of 3 million VND (144 USD).

Many shops at malls like Parkson, Now Zone, and Tax Market have announced discount of 15-35 percent.

Shops selling electronic goods and household appliances, among the worst hit by the poor Tet sales, have launched many big promotions.

Thien Hoa Electronics Centre is offering gifts as well as discounts. Every purchase worth 5.99 million VND (288 USD) will get a gift of a steam iron, while a House kettle is priced at just 199,000 VND (9.57 USD), a Q Home electromagnetic cooker at 499,000 VND (24 USD), and a full HD LCD 39" television at 6.99 million VND (366 USD).

Ideas Household Appliances and Electronics Centre has launched a programme called Tuan le gia soc (Shock price week) from February 24 to March 1, offering price cuts on certain products like TVs, refrigerators, and washing machines.

The promotions are not resulting in as much business as they had hoped for, many sellers admit.

Though the discounts offered post-Tet – in what is an annual phenomenon – this year are much more attractive compared to last year, consumers remain indifferent due to the difficult economic situation, they said.

Many consumers also have a mindset of waiting for deeper discounts that businesses may offer for the upcoming International Women's Day, March 8.

A spokesperson for Zen Plaza shopping mall, where sales have been poor since the start of the year, confirmed that more big discounts are on the cards, especially during International Women's Day./.