Stores and shops succumb to pandemic in droves

20:12 | 23/05/2020
While most stores have reopened after the health crisis, some of them have gone out of business while others had to downsize their chains.
stores and shops succumb to pandemic in droves
RuNam Bistro at Phan Chu Trinh street before COVID-19

As Hanoi grows crowded and stuffy once again after the pandemic, with people hurrying to the office or to school, and most shops have resumed usual business hours, RuNam Bistro at Phan Chu Trinh Street in front of the Hanoi Opera House, remains closed. The signboards of the shop have been talked down, while workers and employees have slowly packed up all tables, chairs, and equipment to wait for trucks to take them away.

This RuNam Bistro is operated by Niso Corporation, which owns numerous well-known restaurants like RuNam Boutique, Fly Cupcake, iBox Café, CIAO Café, An Vien, and NamBenTo, is one of the dozen links of the RuNam Bistro chain across the country.

Besides RuNam, numerous lemon tea and bubble tea shops, as well as restaurants like Net Hue and BobaBop on Hanoi's main streets like Nguyen Huu Huan, Kim Ma, and Cau Giay have been closed, leading to a sense of abandonment and apathy on many streets, with storefront decorated with "For Sale" and "For Lease" banners.

In a talk with VIR, the owner of a coffee shop in the Old Quarter said that leasing costs are too high for them to do business even after the pandemic. "During the last months, we have made very little revenue, while leasing costs remain high. Although the pandemic has gone, there are still no tourists. I decided to close for a time to save money until tourism between Vietnam and other countries recovers," he said.

Hoang Dieu Trang, senior leasing manager of the Hanoi branch of Savills Vietnam, said that after the pandemic, there are only a few inquiries about renting shophouses, especially in the centre of Hanoi. "This comes from the interruption of supply and the change of business scale. 50 per cent of shops in the centre of Hanoi and around Hoan Kiem Lake has been closed due to high costs. Moreover, trade activities at the border gates between Vietnam and China also had a significant impact on local businesses and resource supply in F&B and fashion retail sectors."

By Nguyen Huong

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