Vietnam's retail sales for the first half of the year grew at the slowest pace since 2004, according to the General Statistics Office.
It said purchases rose by 12 percent to VND1,141.4 trillion (US$54 billion) compared to 17-30 percent increases in the last nine years.
International researcher Kantar Worldpanel attributed the slowdown to the continuing economic downturn. In the last three months, the growth of the fast moving consumer goods market was "alarmingly low" at 7 percent in urban areas and 9 percent in rural areas.
During the last three months, supermarkets and hypermarkets became less appealing while mini stores saw robust growth with 91 percent gains in value, the UK-based company said.
It said the economy continued to face challenges as slow reforms were clouding growth outlook. The IMF has lowered its forecast for Vietnam's economic growth for the year to 5.2 percent from 5.8 percent earlier, the second-largest reduction among countries in the ASEAN bloc.
As of June consumer prices have risen 2.4 percent from the start of the year, the slowest pace in a decade. The country aims to keep inflation at 6.5-7 percent this year.
Economist Ngo Tri Long told news website Saigon Times that prices of certain goods are likely to increase in the second half of the year, with the government increasing minimum wages by 10 percent.
But it would not be a very high increase because of low consumption, he said.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade made a similar forecast. It also said that rising prices of global fuels and recent depreciation of the Vietnamese dong against the US dollar will also be factors when prices increase later this year.
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