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The emerging food retail structure of Vietnam: phases of expansion in a post-socialist environment

Nguyen, H, Wood, Steven and Wrigley, N (2013) The emerging food retail structure of Vietnam: phases of expansion in a post-socialist environment International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 41 (8). pp. 596-626.

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To trace the modernisation of the retail structure of Vietnam from a closed market to one that is increasingly open to retail TNC entry and associated Western retail formats.


We undertake this study of retail change through the analysis of a wide range of governmental and industry secondary data – much of which has not entered western academic debate given the challenges of access and translation. In doing so, we relate this period of adaptation to well-known studies concerning the diffusion of western forms of retailing discussed across the social sciences.


As a country encountering the 3rd wave of supermarket proliferation within emerging markets, we find that Vietnam’s experience broadly fits the models of retail Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) entry and retail ‘modernisation’ suggested by Natawidjaja et al. and Dries et al. The retail change process was affected by a slow, progressive creep of market liberalisation where, as late as 2009, a foreign partner could hold only up to 49% of capital in a joint venture. While our analysis of the evidence suggests some retailers flouted these laws or employed creative approaches to mitigating their effects, such regulations clearly underpinned a less intense initial influx of retail FDI than had been experienced elsewhere in Asia and maintained a high domestic ownership level in the retail market. Retail modernisation has intensified in recent years with greater international entry, expansion and retail format proliferation diffusing from cities to more rural locations though the top five grocery operators still account for less than 4% of the grocery market.


Studies within retail management of retail internationalisation have tended to focus on fully liberalised countries that have attracted high rates of retail capital. In contrast, we are focusing on understanding the emergence of one of the countries somewhat later to these trends.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Nguyen, H
Wrigley, N
Date : 5 April 2013
DOI : 10.1108/IJRDM-07-2012-0069
Copyright Disclaimer : © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2013. Published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Jun 2013 09:31
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 16:43

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