The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation jointly held a meeting in Hanoi on May 25 to mark the World No Tobacco Day (May 31) and launch the National No Tobacco Week (May 25-31).
Retail sales rise 19.8 percent in 6 months
Deflation likely to continue in second half
The increase, though modest, has helped lift the total retail revenue in the past seven months to US$63.22 billion. This number represents an increase of 6.8 percent from 2011, and the rate is the highest level since the beginning of this year, the GSO said.
GSO expert Vu Manh Ha attributed the rebound in domestic purchasing power to the State's influential policies, which encourage local consumption, facilitate promotion programs and bring goods to rural areas - as well as the ongoing efforts of retailers and supermarkets to slash prices, cutting items' cost as much as 70 percent.
The seven-month gain in retail trade has also had an impact on the nation's Index of Industrial Production (IIP) which rose by 4.8 percent year-on-year, with increases of 4.2 percent in the first half and 4.1 percent in the first quarter.
As of July 1, the stockpile index surged by only 20.2 percent against the same time last year, far lower than 29-35 percent recorded in the first three months and four months respectively.
However, Ha said, the index is still double what it will be in a more stable economic context.
Vietnam's total retail revenue is expected to increase by 23 percent per year between now and 2014, according to a report by AT Kearney. This means the Vietnamese retail market is offering many opportunities for both domestic and foreign retail businesses.
The report, "Vietnam Retail Market Forecast to 2014," said that modern retail channels will play a crucial role in future growth, improving their position in the market. Increasing purchasing power and changing lifestyles have been some of the key growth drivers in the country's modern retail market, it said.
The modern retail market will be the key distribution channel in Vietnam in the near future due to its huge market of nearly 90 million consumers, AT Kearney's report predicted. Vietnamese consumers' shopping habits are changing, with more spending in modern retail outlets due to consumer concerns about convenience and health issues. Many consumers said that modern retail outlets gave them good access to new products, more confidence in food safety, and clean facilities.
The country currently has 636 supermarkets, 120 commerce centres and over 1,000 convenience stores. Experts said this figure still does not meet the demand. As a result, Vietnam's retail market holds many opportunities for both foreign and domestic investors.