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Vietnam fast fashion battle brews

Vietnam is shaping up as the next Asian battleground for the fast fashion industry.

After a stunning debut for Zara Vietnam in the nation’s largest city Ho Chi Minh last week, reports have emerged arch rival H&M plan to open three stores in 2017. That is sure to trigger a Vietnam fast fashion showdown with Japan’s Uniqlo and US-based Forever 21 almost certain to follow.

Inside Retail Asia has learned unofficially that Zara achieved sales of VND 5.5 billion (US$246,000) on its first day’s trading on September 8, in its new two-storey store in Vincom Center, downtown Ho Chi Minh City’s highest-profile mall.

Zara team

The sales figures surprised store management, and is believed to have made it one of the most successful Zara opening days internationally by turnover.

“Figures like that will make rival fast fashion brands H&M and Uniqlo look very closely at Vietnam, a market previously considered as having significant long term potential but insufficient middle class shoppers to justify rushing in now,” said Robert Stockdill, Inside Retail Asia director of content.

“Zara’s first days will force a review of such conservative strategies and we can expect to see a ramping up of international fast fashion and affordable luxury brands entering Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi over the next 12 to 18 months.”

The first two days of trading of Zara Vietnam saw overcrowding, with customers queueing outside from noon until closing time. Most of customers were office employees and expat foreigners familiar with the brand.

The new Zara Ho Chi Minh City store has a total space of 2400 sqm spread over two floors, including over 1800 sqm of selling space. The store displays all the brand’s latest collections: Woman, Basic, TRF, Kids and Man.

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