Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam’s retail sales growth will bounce back to pre-COVID-19 levels next year, reaching 8.5-9 percent year-on-year, according to VNDirect Securities.

The projection was made on the back of the country’s successful containment of COVID-19, which was a major contributor to the economic rebound in the third quarter that saw unemployment fall 0.23 percent against the previous quarter to 2.5 percent.

VNDirect also predicted that consumer confidence is likely to recover soon, against a backdrop of COVID-19 vaccines expected to be available in 2021.

With the rapid growth of the middle class and rising per capita income, domestic consumption remained the main growth driver of the retail industry, even during COVID-19.

Total retail sales of goods and services in the first 11 months increased 6.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

The Conference Board and Nielsen reported that Vietnam was the second-most optimistic country globally, after only India, in the second quarter, with a Consumer Confidence Index of 117 points, which was actually down 9 points compared to the previous quarter.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade expected the domestic trade sector’s added value to contribute 13.5 percent to GDP by 2025 and total retail sales of goods and services to grow around 9-9.5 percent annually over the next five years.

The ministry forecast that total retail sales would reach nearly 350 billion USD by 2025, or 1.6 times higher than in 2020.

The market’s recovery offers huge opportunities for retailers to expand their distribution networks. Saigon Co.op is targeting to add at least 2,000 stores to its chain over the next five years, with revenue rising 8-10 percent annually. Major Japanese retailer Muji, which sells a wide variety of household and consumer goods, has opened its first store in Vietnam, in HCM City, and is planning to open another in Hanoi./.