Though the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) is a few days away, wet markets and supermarkets across the capital city are seeing sluggish sales.

Strolling around O Cho Dua, Thai Ha, Kham Thien and Dong Xuan markets, a variety of goods for Tet are on offer but buyers are few in numbers. Some lay this on the domestic economic woes, resulting in their income staying the same or even being cut.

For this reason, they must weigh up how to spend reasonably so as to avoid wastefulness.

Mai Thao Trang from the outlying district of Ha Tay said her bonus is low this year, so she will only buy essential items instead of mass buying like last year.

In some wet markets, prices of several goods are inching up, especially vermicelli, dried shrimp and bamboo shoots, mushrooms, pork and beef. A kilogram of dried shrimps costs 600,000 – 900,000 VND (28 – 42 USD), prices of pork meat see a rise of 5,000 – 10,000 VND to over 200,000 VND (9 USD) per kilogram while that of premium beef and buffalo meats command up to 700,000 – 800,0000 VND (33 – 38 USD).

As the abundant supply of fresh vegetables outpaces demand, their prices are falling significantly and are expected to only move up a bit during the holiday.

More and more buyers are flocking to the Big C, Metro and Fivimart supermarkets. Turn-out over the weekend was double that of the week before.

Cashing in on the year-end purchasing power, the supermarkets have launched promotional campaigns. The Co.opmart offers 800 items at half price until Lunar New Year’s Eve, which falls on January 30 this year, largely cakes, jams and pork pies.

Meanwhile, the Big C supermarket also offers 5-45 percent discounts on over 2,000 items, including sweets, drinks, spring rolls, sausages, clothes, decorations and household appliances.

New Year gift baskets are now the best seller, each worth an average of 300,000 – 500,000 VND (14 - 23 USD).

Nguyen Thu Ha from the Big C said high-cost baskets are unpopular this year, but others priced at 300,000 – 1 million VND have proved attractive.

According to her, sales soared last weekend, especially drinks, sweet treats, jams, cooking oil and dried food like mushrooms, green beans and glutinous rice.

The sale of fruit and raw foods is expected to be strong in the next few days as Tet gets nearer, she said.-VNA