Traders in traditional markets forced to reduce staff or even close

VIETNAM, April 12 –

Many stalls in An Đông Market in District 5 of Ho Chi Minh City remain closed. — Photo tuoitre.vn

HCM CITY – Trần Kim Thu, owner of a clothing stall at Bến Thành Market in HCM City, said, “Maximum sales per day are currently only around 2 million VNĐ (87 USD). It must be at least 6 million VNĐ ($262) to break even.

Today, only about 500 stalls are still open, a sixth of the normal number.

Most small traders have closed to cut costs or are trying to sell their store, Thu said.

One of the city’s oldest markets has just a few dozen visitors on weekends, down from thousands before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of its 3,000 stalls, which sold clothes, shoes and crafts, are closed.

According to management, most of the stalls, except those selling fresh produce, have few customers, especially the handbag, clothing and craft stores.

Shops selling Vietnamese handicrafts and fried seafood, popular with foreign and local visitors, have been closed since March 2020.

“The impact of the pandemic on my business started last February,” said Nguyễn Thị Thơm, who sells handicrafts.

Many other markets in the city, including An Đông in District 5, Bình Tây in District 6, and Soái Kình Lâm in Chợ Lớn (Big Market) in District 5, face similar problems.

Most stalls in these places used to hire at least three vendors, but this is no longer the case, and many have even had to close due to lack of activity.

Hồ Minh Chính, an economist, said traders in traditional markets are also selling online to improve their income.

Although not generally considered tech-savvy, they have focused on online sales and networking to survive amid the pandemic, and many are even thriving.

Trần Kim Huệ, who sells clothes at An Đông market, said that for the past two months, her daughter has been showing her how to use Facebook and Zalo to sell her products.

Trịnh Thái Nhung, another clothing seller in the same market, said that after participating in an online fair in Chợ Lớn market last September, she was able to network with many companies, including Co. opmart, which has greatly benefited his company and his employees.

She also asked An Đông Market to organize online trade fairs.

Food, fruit and vegetable traders in Bến Thành market sell their products via Grab.

Dương Thị Thanh Thủy, a confectionery seller, said that while her family business has relied on customers and tourists for 60 years, now she must use technology.

Some merchants said that selling online has not been profitable so far, as it is still new to them, but could be more profitable in the long run.

Bến Thành Market is working with the District 1 Information Technology Center to improve its website to help its tenants sell online.

Trần Huy Cường, director of District 5 Economic Development and Labor Supply Support Center, said the district has held online fairs to help traders get used to online channels. line.

They also learn how to use social media to sell their products, take photos and write about their products, he added.

According to the city’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce, online shopping has gradually become popular after the long period of restrictions due to the pandemic, the relentless rise in fuel prices and the decline in income, which caused people to reduce their spending.

It plans to support small businesses by continuing to cut taxes and extend payment terms.

Last year, to support small businesses and traders in traditional markets affected by the pandemic, city authorities ordered traditional markets to reduce their rents by 50% for six months. —VNS