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Spending on Tet: Less on food, more on dress   2009-01-22 - Tien phong

In Hanoi, the traditional food products for Tet like banh chung (square glutinous rice cake), gio cha (sausages) and nem (spring rolls) have few customers this year, while the clothes market is attracting an increasingly high number of customers these days.


Giang's shop on Tran Xuan Soan street

On December 26 of the Lunar Year, or just three days before Tet, Tran Xuan Soan street in Hanoi, specialising in processed food for Tet, is quiet, while it should be more bustling with customers purchasing food for Tet parties.

Dang Thi Mung, daughter-in-law of Mrs Luy, the owner of Food Shop at No 54 Tran Xuan Soan, which has been well known in Hanoi for many years, said that sales are just half of last year’s. Banh chung is now only VND15-30,000/piece.


The numbers of buyers of gio and nem also have seen sharp decreases in comparison with last year, though Luy said that prices are reasonable.


Giang, the owner of another food shop on the same street, specialising in selling Uoc Le brand name gio cha (sausages), also said that sales have decreased by half.


Hoang Ngoc Tu, the son of Giang, said that everyday, his shop sells 50 banh chung only (VND25,000/banh chung) and nearly 10 kg of sausages of different kinds. Though Tet will come in just several days, demand remains very low.


Meanwhile, other shops on Tran Xuan Soan street, like Duc Minh shop, said that they still have the same number of customers. Bui Thi Sinh, the owner of Duc Minh Shop, said that she had to prepare for making Tet products in October of last year.


At Tranh Khuc Village, specialising in making banh chung in Duyen Ha commune in Thanh Tri district in Hanoi, people say the number of orders is the same as last year.


Dang Tien Le, Chairman of Van Khuc Cooperative, said that there are over 210 households specialising in making banh chung and banh day (kind of rice cake). Every household can sell 1-3,000 banh chung every day for the last few days.


Le said the volume of banh chung sold is the same as last year, but profit is lower.


Clothes attracting clients


On Son Tay street, specialising in children’s clothes, there were a lot of buyers. Mai Anh, the owner of the biggest shop there, said that mothers always complain about the lower income the Tet bonuses, but they still spend millions VND to buy clothes and things for their children.


At the Spring Trade Fair at Giang Vo Exhibition Centre in Hanoi, visitors were seen gathering at clothes stalls, especially those of well-known brand name stalls like Tay Do, Duc Giang and Phong Phu.


Nguyen Huong Giang, 24, from Ngoc Khanh ward in Ba Dinh district, said that she has bought an overcoat from Tay Do Garment Company and she was trying to purchase more clothes to wear on Tet.


Chua Boc, Cau Giay, Tran Nhan Tong streets, the ‘clothes streets’, are also full of people these days. Hang, a saleswoman at the Blue Exchange shop, said that new models of the shop have been selling out soon after they hit the shelves as the number of clients has increased sharply these days.


Jeans and thin coats, T-shirts are the things favoured by the young. However, Hang said that sales will only be going well for a few more days, while no more people will purchase clothes on December 30 of the Lunar Year, or the day just before Tet.

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