Central Group, which owns retailer Big C Vietnam, has temporarily stopped sourcing garments from local suppliers to facilitate restructuring.
“To restructure the group’s garment sector in the Vietnam market, we have decided to suspend the procurement of garments starting from July 2019,” the Thai group informed its suppliers on Tuesday. This will last until further notice.
Following the announcement, workers and representatives of local garment firms came to Central Group’s office in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday to inquire about the reason for the suspension.
The company then issued another announcement saying it is to facilitate a review of its inventory and the feasibility from suppliers to provide customers with the highest quality Vietnamese products.
“Big C Vietnam is in the process of reviewing together with over 200 garment suppliers to identify products of the highest quality not only for the domestic market but also for export.
“The suspension of orders is only temporary and we have not [pulled out] of the garment sector in Vietnam.”
Big C is contracted with over 4,000 suppliers for its chain of supermarkets, and has said finding local suppliers is always a top priority.
Speaking to VnExpress, Le Viet Nga, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s domestic market department, said she has discussed the issue with Central Group.
It said it was performing an internal restructuring to review and cut down on discounting, and promised to resume buying Vietnamese garments after two weeks, she added. “There is no such thing as them discriminating against Vietnamese goods.”
Central Group, Thailand’s largest retailer, bought Big C Vietnam from France’s Casino Group in 2016 for over $1 billion. It is planning to build more shopping malls and upgrade existing supermarkets into high-end retail centers.
Between now and 2021 it plans to make 13 of 34 Big C supermarkets larger and more modern at a cost of $30 million.