Shopping mall investor Parkson pulled out of the tallest building in the country over the New Year holiday after giving its retailers one day to move.
A retailer renting a booth at Parkson mall in the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower said Parkson notified them about the shutdown in an email sent on January 2.
The email said retailers had until the end of Sunday (January 4) to move out.
The following day, Parkson announced they'd have to get out on Saturday night.
Nguyen Van Trung, who works in a basement restaurant, said they received the final notice on Saturday, and before they could figure out what to do, the building's security staff closed all the doors and locked many retailers and customers in the basement.
The guards said they were just following orders, Trung said.
They only opened one door to allow customers to leave after a long argument.
Prior to the shutdown, Tung Chee Sung, the general director of Parkson Hanoi, released a statement addressed to his customers announcing that the Parkson Landmark hadn't met its daily revenue target once since opening in 2011.
In the statement, Sung acknowledged that Parkson's tenants had also suffered losses.
Many retailers said that since business has always been bleak, Parkson had plenty of time to offer advanced notice of the shutdown.
Several retailers complained that their contracts are still valid.
One food store owner said she still has another year, while another vendor just paid the firm a VND400 million advance on his rent.
The retailers said they were angry at the way Parkson handled the situation, and that they plan to sue if the investor doesn't pay the money it owes.
Retailers were still moving cardboard boxes out of the building on Sunday evening.
A Thanh Nien reporter made various attempts to contact representatives from the Keangnam Landmark building, but failed to get comment.
Nguyen Van Hai, the Party secretary of Nam Tu Liem District, said he wasn't informed of the shutdown since the building is directly managed by the municipal government of Hanoi.
But Hai said they had organized security measures to keep the peace in the interim.
Keangnam Vina, a unit of South Korea’s Keangnam Enterprises Ltd., built Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower at 346 meters (1,135 feet), making it the tallest in Vietnam.