Sunday, 19 January 2020

Heard Under The Sheds - 19/1/2020

Many Traders are expressing concern that dramatic bush fire footage shown overseas is deterring visitors. The Governments announced on Saturday that it will spend $76m to lure overseas tourists back to Australia after the bush fires.

A couple of Traders were discussing the business potential of selling face masks as a number of major retailers reported they had sold out of the popular P2 masks following smoke haze warnings. Options could include colour variations, indigenous designs, personalised face masks, and even one with the QVM logo.

The coolest spot in the market - aside from dedicated cool rooms, we have it on good authority that this bench at the top carpark walkway is most likely to receive a cooling breeze, even on still days. The good authority? - someone who regularly visits every precinct of our market in his daily duties.

Wednesday night’s Market was drastically impacted by weather with many Traders reporting a small crowd and little business. The weather forecast for thunderstorms and potentially damaging hail was enough to put off visitors. The actual weather on the night wasn’t too destructive although wind-blown rain caused problems for exposed Traders. We understand that South Melbourne market canceled its Wednesday night market because of threatening weather.

A Trader was contemplating a tennis related display that might appeal to all the Australian Open fans in town. Tennis balls dangling from the roof didn’t really appeal although he said he had been known to throw a tantrum or two and wondered if that would be appropriate.

The latest smoke haze health policy has one Trader wondering why 65 year olds get special leave (i.e. not deducted from leave days) when extreme heat endangers health but not when poor air quality endangers health. Maybe one for the TRC to take up?

Some good reports from Wednesday’s presentation at the Trader’s Hub about selling your market business. Apparently Denise Hall’s presentation was full of useful information with clear guidance on how to prepare your business for sale. A number of participants agreed that Market Traders need to be a lot more professional about this aspect of business and that pre-planning, perhaps over years, is the key to getting a good result.

This week's joke - "You know what they say: If you've seen one retail job,

then you've seen the mall."

Two Traders were discussing the trials of tackling Melbourne's traffic at the moment coming to and from the market. They agreed that the pain would be bearable if we could just make the time between arriving and departing a little more interesting and a lot more profitable.

The Importance Of The TRC And Why You Need To Nominate

The deadline for nominations for the Trader Representative Committee has been extended which may mean there has been lack of interest from Traders but clearly there has never been a more important time for this body to achieve some results through competent representation.

The retail revolution is carving its way through the old ways of retailing and new considerations for trading are arriving at a bewildering rate. Some very significant decisions have come out of the TRC in recent times with new trading hours probably at the top of the list.

This week there have been a few questions under the sheds -

Does The TRC Really Achieve Anything? -  It is unfortunate that this question is commonly asked but communication out of the TRC is rather poor. Traders rarely find out what has been discussed. However we are told that most important decisions about our market are put before the TRC in some way.

Do They (Management) Ever Really Listen? - This is a cop out from Traders who are looking for excuses not to get involved. A good representative will make argument that has to be listened to, and then follow up with questions that can’t be ignored. Facts, clear argument, and persistence are the key here.

I Don’t Have The Time To Be A Representative – Actually we are told this role doesn’t take much time. Meetings are probably monthly and most of the work is done within the actual meeting. Some issues will require discussion with your neighbours but if there is more research to be done, you simply ask for time and assistance.

Isn’t It A Lot Of Responsibility? – The TRC is an advisory committee. You offer your experience as a Trader to advise other Traders and Management about matters affecting trading. Decisions will not always have universal acceptance. That is the nature of decision making. But good, considered input, and respect for all points of view, is all that can be asked of any representative.

How Does The Selection Process Work? – Traders need to nominate themselves and an updated committee of 16 is made up of representatives from different market areas. (see chart below) To allow greater flexibility in representation of the open sheds, TRC representatives will be elected according to their trading format rather than the specific shed(s) they trade from. For example, there will now be five traders representing specialty shopping in the open sheds broadly. If there are more nominations than positions available in any one area, an election will be held.

What Now? – Traders need competent representatives to assist in the changing future of market trading. Traders are generally good at being individual business people but sometimes it is teamwork that really counts. Working well with fellow Traders and Management can produce results to benefit everyone. If you feel you can make a contribution please visit F1 for a nomination form or talk to your Precinct Manager.

By Greg Smith

Trader Seeks Forum To Re-organise The Upper Market

A Trader has written to us about the need to re-organise the Specialty Merchandise area of QVM.

He says “The Fresh Food Market is very well organised, logical, and makes shopping easy and attractive to customers. There are designated aisles for fresh fruit and vegetables, deli, meat &fish, and a large number of competing traders offering the greatest variety of goods to customers at the most competitive prices.”

“How different is the Specialty shop area!!!!!! It’s a total disaster. Everything in this area is made for customers to have the worst shopping experience. No system, no logic. Customers are just dragging themselves from aisle to aisle until they get totally exhausted and disenchanted and just leave without buying anything.”

“How do we rectify this?”

“In my opinion there has to be a forum which must have proper representation from QVM Management and Traders as well as customers to the work required.

As a quick band aid solution I would recommend:
- to put a printed Trader Directory together and add it to the QVM website. Hard copies could be made available at the Visitor Centre.
- to create a printed version of the existing QVM website to be distributed to customers to have some vague idea about what merchandise they can shop for.
- a proper action plan needs to be put together to completely restructure the speciality shop area and re-engineer its perception from a Trash and Treasure Market and turn it into Melbourne’s Best Value Shipping Outlet, which it could be.”

Latest Retail News – 19/1/2020

Latest Retail News – 19/1/2020
1. Aldi extends paid leave for fire fighters.
2. University Co-op’s 63 Curious Planet stores to close.
3. Study says shorter working days more practical than long weekends. (see below)
4. Amazon looks at push into pharmaceutical retail.
5. Woolworths takes largest share of fresh meat market, followed by Coles, butchers, and Aldi.
6. Jeans West enters voluntary administration with future of 146 stores uncertain.
7. Myer cuts another 35 executive roles.
8. Electronics retailer, Bose, to close its 19 Australian stores.
9. Government to spend $76m to bring tourists to Australia after bushfires.
10. Buy now, pay later creeps into fresh food retailing. (see below)

Articles Worth Reading:
Shorter Working Days Better Than Long Weekends -

Why Every Company Needs A Chief Fun Officer -

Jeans West Collapses -

Employers Obligations With Smokey Air -

Bushfire Recovery Package For Australian Tourism -

Buy Now, Pay Later Shifts Into Food And That Is A Worry -

QVM In The News - 19/01/2020

Melbourne City Council is considering ideas for the proposed Market Square on the site of the main carpark at Queen Victoria Market. The carpark ...
... have been charged in relation to a series of thefts on unsuspecting public transport users and shoppers at the Queen Victoria Market during the past ...
A Melbourne City Council plan to build a skyscraper to help fund the $250 million Queen Victoria Market redevelopment faces stiff opposition from ...
... the “sneaky” and “slick” thefts in crowded places such as the Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne Central shopping centre and the Queen Victoria Market.
At Queen Victoria Market, installation of steel bollards along Peel and Elizabeth streets and at the corner of Therry and Elizabeth streets were also ...
... which has seen similar safety measures installed at Flinders Street station, Princes Street Bridge, the Queen Victoria Market and Bourke Street mall.
Victoria's CFA, Australian Red Cross, and WIRES Wildlife Rescue. ... Many traders at the iconic Queen Vic Market will be donating in their own way.
Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Queen Victoria Markets, the largest ... market to head towards the South Melbourne market and enjoy dimsums or ...

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Heard Under The Sheds – 12/1/2020

Businesses for sale – a number of market businesses have popped up on Gumtree this week including Viva La Calavera and Nautical Replicas in String Bean Alley, and a children’s clothing business in J Shed. More are expected to follow.

L Shed and String Bean Alley traded for the first time on a Thursday this week and reports were mixed on the day. Although a number of Traders said that Thursday sales looked better after a very quiet Friday. Management confirmed that it will take some time for the precinct to become fully populated on Thursdays.

Healthy Working Environment for Traders – one trader applauds the no smoking ban but asks if management can now turn their attention to protecting Traders on extremely hot and stuffy days. We are wondering if the following photo might show a solution.

Perhaps Pete’s water mister could also be used to put out cigarettes.

Smoking ban – with customers exempt from the smoking ban until City Council activates a city wide ban, a Trader asks if buying a cup of coffee from a market outlet makes him a customer at least for long enough to have a smoke. Traders can be very creative with their questions.

Paper Carry Bags 1 - A Trader reports that he has embraced the paper carry bag option from QVM’s F1 shop because they are cost effective and a lot more convenient than travelling to his bag wholesaler.

Paper Carry Bags 2 – another Trader says he personalises the QVM carry bag with his own colourful tag that attaches to the bag handle and doubles as a business card.

You won’t believe it, but it is true – a customer returned a pair of ear rings to a Trader this week asking for a refund because she had only experienced bad luck since purchasing them. The Trader wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry but in a tick for customer service excellence, agreed to a refund. The Trader’s neighbour suggested a more appropriate response might have been “I can see what you mean by bad luck, because guess what – we don’t give refunds!”

Power outage – a high truck managed to tangle with overhead tram wires at the Dudley St. roundabout on Friday and bring down live cables all along Peel St. adjacent to the market. The tangle of wires caused traffic mayhem. Early reports that Ronnie had caused the outage by turning on three juicers in his van at once proved incorrect.

Have Your Say - click here.

More Work Needs More Work

The push for more hours and more customer convenience can have downsides and SBA Traders are starting to feel the pinch.

Traders in String Bean Alley started regular trading on a Thursday from this week. This is all part of a plan to bring SBA trading in line with the rest of the market. Tuesday trading is to start later in July, but a number of SBA Traders have asked for a stay of execution.

The problem is that while the rest of the Upper Market trades 5 days, individual Traders can choose whether or not to trade, but in permanent containers there really isn’t a choice. If SBA is open then all participants are expected to trade.

And many SBA Traders are unique - they are manufacturing Traders. SBA is an aisle focusing on small artisan type manufacturing businesses. The problem here is that manufacturing requires workshop time and Traders can’t be in two places at once. Five days trading plus a night market doesn’t leave much time for manufacturing.

Of course it is possible to staff a container and this was the issue faced in shopping centres in the past when they went to 7 days trading and were forced to roster staff. But turning over hundreds of thousands of dollars in a shopping centre gives you a lot more financial flexibility than most market traders enjoy, certainly in the Upper Market.

QVM’s push for more hours is understandable. Customer convenience is a prime driver in this retail revolution and customers are demanding more access. And of course QVM earn their income mainly from rent. They would be neglecting their corporate responsibility if they didn’t look to maximise new rental opportunities.

So we have a push for more hours which will increase the pressure on small manufacturing businesses. At least two manufacturing businesses in SBA do staff their containers already to create manufacturing flexibility although that is not necessarily feasible for all Traders.

Thursday trading is new for SBA and adjoining L Shed. Clearly it will take time to get the precinct fully populated and operating to maximum potential. Maybe the answer is to put a hold on the introduction of Tuesday trading until Traders are able to properly work out what that potential is.

By Greg Smith.

Selling A Business Workshop

LAST CALL FOR SBMSQ & A Session – Selling a Business” to be held 11am Wednesday 15th January 2020 in the Trader Lounge.  A light lunch will be provided.  Registration is required for catering purposes at

If you are thinking of selling in the next year….
Come along to a Q & A Session
On Wednesday 15th January 2020

More than 50% of Exits are INVOLUNTARY.
More than 70% of Business Owners have NOT THOUGHT ABOUT IT = no exit strategy.

Without fully investigating the value that has been built up over all the years, you may be potentially throwing away all your blood, sweat and tears, and not-to-mention, your hard-fought time and hard-earned money, for nothing.

Is your business in good shape for sale?

This is your opportunity to ask any questions about selling your business, for example, how do I work out what my business may be worth? (Don't forget to write down your questions before the event). Denise can help you facilitate freedom from your Business no longer serving your purpose with strictly confidential SBMS mentoring.

Date: Wednesday 15th January 2020
Time: 11am - 1pm  Includes a light lunch
Venue: Board Room, Trader Lounge (266 Victoria Street)
*** Please note registration is required for catering.
RSVP  to, tel Madalen on 1300 631 171 or register online

Latest Retail News – 12/1/2020

Latest Retail News – 12/1/2020
1. QVM joins the fund raising effort for bushfire victims.
2. Harris Scarfe to close 21 stores.
3. Sydney based bag brand, From St.Xaviers, launches range in Selfridges, London.
4. Consumer confidence at 4 year low.
5. America’s giant home d├ęcor chain, Pier 1, to close 450 stores.
6. Longer opening hours allow supermarkets to boost sales.
7. UK supermarkets have their worst Christmas since 2014.
8. Reject Shop asked to explain 40% rise in share price.
9. Bardot to close 58 stores.
10. NAB says Black Friday online sales up 62%.
11. EB Games to close 19 un-profitable stores.

Articles Worth Reading:
Out of the box ideas to try when sales are struggling -

Retail store checkouts to change massively -

Personalisation will be 2020’s most over-hyped marketing practice -

American Dream Mall has made it at last -

Forever 21 turns to e-commerce after retail failures -

Retailing is moving back to main street in 2020 -

QVM In The News - 12/1/2020

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Queen Victoria Markets, the largest ... market to head towards the South Melbourne market and enjoy dimsums or ...
Shed X at Queen Victoria Market, Queen St, Melbourne 3000. 03 9283 6100. 5-10pm. $35. Fri Mar 20.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Heard Under The Sheds - 5/1/2020

The ups and downs of trading - a Trader complained of lack lustre sales on Saturday afternoon, only to excitedly announce an hour later that he had just had his best ever single sale. And that was from a local couple.

One of our Traders is concerned that international publicity about our fires will impact on visitor numbers. Australia already scares off enough potential visitors with our sharks and spiders.

On a related matter - a customer whose credit card was declined blamed it on the bushfires.

These campers decided to get the city experience under our sheds.

Is this a first? This tour from a cruise ship came on bikes supplied by the ship. Apparently they only had one hour at our market before moving on.

Blue Steel is the name given to Adam Sandler’s famous pose in Zoolander and we reckon one of our Traders has nailed it. Thanks to Michael from Spotty Dot for the photo and to Tony (Blue Steel) Pierrakos for the pose.

A few Traders in SBA have traded on Tuesdays and Thursdays post Christmas with positive results. Regular Thursday trading in SBA and L Shed starts on 9th January.

A Trader quips that 2020 must be the year for visionaries.

New Years Resolutions? - none planned for one of our Traders who insists you can’t improve on perfection.

New Years Resolution 2 - this Trader wants to learn more. He says the minute you stop learning and applying new ideas, your business will suffer.

One of our Traders loves how some international customers ignore baggage concerns and just load up carry bags to take on board. “If it doesn’t get weighed it will be fine.”

The Top Victraders Stories of 2019

Victraders readership in 2019 reached record levels and the following 9 articles were the most read for varying reasons. Just click on the link for the full story.

This article mentioned the word "harassment" and that was probably enough to get it high on the list.

The following two articles were about the same subject (filling stall gaps) but they were 6 months apart and managed to get high readership each time.

"Best of" articles often get attention and this one was also about food so it was a no-brainer. But how did one of our String Bean Alley Traders get in the story?

The Committee of Trustees got some attention here.

A report of an intriguing Council meeting with a lot of QVM content and a few trader appearances.

This article revealed some of the emotion attached to market life.

This article was about a fairly dry subject - what to call our biggest group of Traders - but it certainly attracted a lot of attention.

And you can't beat a personal story for maximising readership particularly when social media takes it up.

Latest Retail News – 5/1/2020

Latest Retail News – 5/1/2020
1. Uniqlo sales rise 25% year on year in Australia.
2. Toms Shoes hand business over to creditors.
3. Harrods to open in Shanghai.
4. Dan Murphy’s opening smaller stores.
5. Tiffany’s offered a US$112,000 advent calendar at Christmas.
6. Christmas gift card sales surged in 2019.

Articles Worth A Read:
The Big Retail Hits In Europe For 2019:

Amazon is a Brand Disaster Waiting to Happen:

Predicting Radical Retail Change In The Next 5 Years:

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 29/12/2019

A number of Traders were happy with trade during the special Monday pre-Christmas market, saying the “buzz” was clearly evident.

“Just like the good old days” - was the comment from some Traders as the volume of international and interstate tourists rose and sales spiked following the Christmas/Boxing Day break.

Return of cash - the influx of tourists brought a rise in cash payments rather than card, with many traders running out of change. One Trader suggested it was the once-a-year travellers adopting old habits whereas seasoned travellers have pretty much converted to electronic payments.

“Let’s not get too excited” said a Trader. “We might have a bit of a sales spike, but it is coming off a very low base. There is still a lot of work to do.”

A Trader asks why we can’t have a Black Friday sale at the market. Black Friday is not exclusively online and has clearly become a key component of the global annual sales program.

Siren’s at the market. Police and Ambulance sirens are common around our city but this one from an antique fire truck caught plenty of attention up on Peel St.

Our bad (but irresistible) joke of the week – “Did you hear the Traders Lounge was supposed to be getting a gym? Sorry, it didn’t work out”.

One Trader is mystified by the number of post Christmas stall vacancies around the Upper Market. “Don’t Traders understand that post Christmas can be better than pre Christmas at QVM as tourists hit town for the holidays?”

A customer from Hong Kong said it was nice to shop in Melbourne without the fear of the protests that have seriously interrupted retail trade in his home city.

Why Was Monday Business So Good At QVM?

Monday 23rd December was a special market day and the Upper Market experienced good sales.   The timing, just before Christmas, was a key factor but there were other reasons for strong sales and maybe we need to look at those.

This was a unique market centred around D - E sheds. It was specially curated for the occasion, and maybe curation is the most important ingredient here. Traders were allocated stalls to give good balance and make the most of their displays. Without the restrictions of historical stall allocation it was easier for Precinct Managers to create a cohesive market without gaps - the mystical “buzz” that all Traders look for was evident.

The special Monday market followed on from a similarly successful Monday market on Christmas Eve in 2018.

A couple of our Traders were asked why they thought business was good. One said it was a comparatively small market so more customers per Trader means better sales.  Another suggested it was a combination of things - timing, marketing, and no stall gaps.  This Trader added that Traders seemed to put in a bit extra effort on presentation and merchandising, possibly because this was a fresh opportunity, in a new location.

Freshness, no gaps, and a little extra effort - so how do we create those conditions more often in the Upper Market?

Latest Retail News – 29/12/2019

Latest Retail News – 29/12/2019
1. NRA predicts biggest ever Boxing Day spend.
2. Caltex to revert to Ampol brand for its service stations.
3. Three customers taken to hospital after crowd crush at Westfield Christmas Eve promotion in Sydney.
4. Customers queue from 5am Boxing Day in Bourke St. mall.
5. Sustainability seen as major new force in creating consumer sales.
6. Myer’s EFTPOS system crashes on Boxing Day.

Articles Worth A Read:
Shift away from physical gift purchases -

Australian Coffee is world famous -

Avoiding retail staff abuse -