Vincom Mega Mall turns the screws on struggling rivals

The launch of Vincom Mega Mall Royal City, the largest underground retail complex in Asia, is expected to dramatically change the retailing landscape in Hanoi, and pose stiff competition to the current retail centres in the city.


Vincom Mega Mall introduces many “firsts” to Hanoi, Photo: Duc Thanh

During the first opening week, the junction of Nga Tu So and Nguyen Trai streets where the Vincom Mega Mall Royal City is located was surprisingly busy due to thousands of potential customers visiting the centre in their cars and on motorbikes. The mall space was filled with both shoppers and curious visitors despite a rainy weekend.

In its white paper “From ice-scream to ice rink” CBRE described the large footfall over the first few days of its opening as “very impressive and greater than one might have ordinarily expected to see in Vietnam shopping centres.”

“Vincom Mega Mall Royal City has indeed created a big bang in the Hanoi market,” the property consultant stated in the white paper.

One-stop shopping

With an impressive total area of over 230,000 square metres, Vincom Mega Mall Royal City is five times the size of the previous largest shopping center in Vietnam and has become Asia’s largest underground retail complex, and one of the largest shopping malls in Asia. By size, the new complex is equal to Siam Paragon, the second largest shopping mall in Bangkok.

The introduction of Vincom Mega Mall Royal City, together with its upcoming sibling Vincom Mega Mall Times City, is expected to shape the future of the Hanoi’s retail market as well as Vietnam’s retail market, CBRE has claimed.

Upon completion, these two shopping centres will provide a total of approximately 460,000sqm retail space, more than equal the total space of all other shopping centres in Hanoi.

The massive scale, fortunately, is presented in a brand new concept that entails a mix of recreational activities and shopping activities, which has the potential to appeal to the growing middle class of Hanoi.

The centre unprecedentedly boasted a pre-commitment occupancy rate of 95 per cent, 85 per cent of whom were ready for business on the opening day. Considering the falling consumption rates caused by the persisting economic challenges in Vietnam, such a rate was a surprise to the whole industry.

The centre’s attraction to both retailers and shoppers is attributed to its introduction of many “firsts” and unique concepts for the first time in Vietnam.

Before the launch of Vincom Mega Mega Mall Royal City, the foreign concept of “One-stop-shops” was not presented in Vietnam.

Until recently, leisure and entertainment services in Hanoi were spread out in stand-alone developments such as the West Lake Water Park, game centers and cinemas in various shopping centres, a few stand-alone roller skating rinks, and small to mid-sized food courts.

Yet, a one-stop shop that provided from ice-cream to ice rink, catering to the needs of families and a large teenage customer base in Hanoi was missing until the launch of Vincom Mega Mall Royal City.

Changing for survival

However, as exciting as it is to the local retail market, the new shopping centre does put pressure on the rest of the market, according to CBRE.

A number of shopping centres in Hanoi have been struggling to survive and have closed their doors for restructuring in an attempt to win back business.

Trang Tien Plaza, one of the biggest names in Hanoi, was recently reopened after years of renovations. They centre aims to be the most luxurious trading centre in Hanoi by presenting 112 luxury brand names in fashion, watches and perfume including Christian Dio, Versace and Mango.

Grand Plaza Department Store and Hang Da Galleria are currently closed for restructuring despite the fact that both were only in operation for a few months. Mipec Tower shopping mall in Tay Son street has been closed down following the Lotte Shopping Vietnam’s acquisition of its four floors. It is expected to open again early next year as the Lotte Mart hypermarket.

By Chung Ngoc