Covid-19: Vendors unable to sell wares, make profit

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Retailers in Vientiane are running their businesses at a loss. Their sales are dipping following the outbreak of Covid-19 and this has also resulted in the postponement of several trade fairs and exhibitions.

Advisories have been issued by many countries to avoid crowded places so exhibitions and trade fairs where these vendors showcase their products have been cancelled or indefinitely postponed. The global economy has been hit and vendors, the smallest spokes in the wheel, are obviously not spared.

The postponement of fairs and exhibitions has resulted in the reduction of footfall at the ITECC Mall and sales are sluggish, the owner of Noy Vongkhanty Handicraft, Mr Noy, said.

Normally, there are exhibitions or trade fairs two or three times a month which helps attract people to the mall.

Even though the mall is  taking steps to prevent an outbreak – such as providing hand sanitisers for visitors – there has been no increase in visitors.

Our sales have fallen by around 70 percent over the past three months due to the postponement of fairs which we needed to boost our online sales, he added.

The shop sells silk goods made by local people, including skirts, ethnic Lao clothing and other textiles.

In addition, the shop stocks accessories such as silver belts, earrings, bracelets, rings, necklaces and souvenirs of various sizes and types.

The general economic recession is another issue  resulting in losses for retailers, Mr Noy said.

“We ordered a large quantity of consumer goods to sell at a fair, but it has been postponed due to fears of Covid-19. This is resulting in losses,” said another retailer in Vientiane.

If the outbreak spreads further this will be bad news for vendors as exhibitions are the perfect place for them to showcase and market their products. 

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