Ho Chi Minh City has embarked on a plan to develop its retail and wholesale network in a bid to raise the revenues of modern distribution systems to 40 percent of the total retail value by 2015.

Under the plan, the country’s largest southern hub will build an additional 95 supermarkets and 140 trade centres from now until 2015, mainly in the city’s downtown, the Nam Sai Gon and Thu Thiem urban areas, and at stops along its planned Metro rail line.

The city will also encourage development of round-the-clock convenience stores and outlets which supply fresh and processed food and foodstuffs in residential areas.

Alongside expanding its modern distribution system, HCM City will upgrade existing traditional markets. During the remaining months of this year, the city plans to renovate three major agricultural and food wholesale markets, Binh Dien, Hoc Mon and Thu Duc, and establish a trade floor for farm produce.

A total of 64 street markets in the city will be upgraded in 2009-2010, and 31 others will be modernised in the five following years.

To attract investors, local authorities have pledged to adopt investment and tax incentives, and create favourable conditions for domestic businesses and distributors to invest in commercial infrastructure facilities, particularly for retailers to expand their operations by developing store chains.

According to the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, the city’s total retail sales exceeded 232.5 trillion VND (13.28 billion USD) in 2008, up 38 percent over the previous year. The figure for the first half of 2009 was 125 trillion VND (7.14 billion USD).

HCM City is currently home to 81 supermarkets and hypermarkets, 21 trade centres and hundreds of convenience stores./.