The General Statistics Office (GSO) on July 28 reported that the total retail sale of goods and services in the first seven months achieved a year-on-year increase of 11.4 percent to 78.8 billion USD.

Excluding inflation, the growth was 6.15 percent since early this year against the growth rate at 5.1 percent in the first quarter, 5.5 percent in the first four months and 6 percent in the first five months. It was 5.7 percent in the first half of the year.

During the first seven months of this year, the total retail sale of goods accounted for 75 percent of the total to reach 59.15 billion USD, 10.1 percent higher than the same period last year.

Sales of accommodation and restaurant services had a year-on-year increase of 12.8 percent to 9.62 billion USD and other services gained 9.22 billion USD, 18.3 percent higher than same period last year.

GSO economic expert Vu Manh Ha said, however, that the real purchasing power still grew slowly, as the consumer price index increased only 1.62 percent during the first seven months – the lowest level since 2006.

The growth rate of retail sales of goods and services each month showed a downward trend during the first seven months, the office said. The rate increased 2.3 percent in February against January, 2 percent in March against February and 1.4 percent in April against May. It rose 0.7 percent in July against June.

However, the domestic retail market shows great potential in the future, according to property consulting and service provider CBRE Vietnam.

Looking ahead, the retail market could expect more activities and new entrants in Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular.

According to a recent report by CBRE, Vietnam ranked second among ten top markets for Asian retailers in 2014. Another survey conducted by CBRE also showed that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are among top 10 cities in Asia Pacific where retailers intend to open stores in 2014.

On the legal side, Vietnam will completely open the market to foreign retailers by January 2015 under WTO obligations. In addition, under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, Vietnam has reduced import duties from ASEAN to zero on 10,000 tariff lines.

While this support is expected to serve as a good foundation for more international retailers and goods to enter Vietnam, local retailers may struggle with competition from foreign retailers with modern, tried and tested international concepts.-VNA