Friday 30 September 2011

Retail News of the Week – 30/09/11

1. CatchOfTheDay have officially launched their online grocery site,, as a competitor to the major supermarkets.
2. A Visa survey published this week found that 95% of NZ shoppers combine online and physical store visits when choosing to buy.
3. Secrets Shhh jewellery store to open at Chadstone.
4. Highpoint Shopping Centre Maribyrnong to undergo $300m development for completion in 2013.
5. Pumpkin Patch has closed its US stores as it continues to consolidate operations.
6. Entrepreneur, Dick Smith, says that Coles boss Ian McLeod is "destroying the livelihoods of Australian farmers" and wiping them out with a "new form of extreme capitalism" following the revelation of McLeod’s $15.6m pay packet for 2010/11.
7. The Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS) at Monash University has found that 58% of consumers are multi-channel shoppers.
8. Myer Melbourne received the prestigious Store Design of the Year Award at the Oracle World Retail Awards in Berlin this week.
9. Aldi wins their High Court challenge re transparency on EFTPOS charges.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Lord Mayor Talks QVM On Ten News

Caught a glimpse of Channel 10 news tonight and unfortunately we don’t have a transcript  but the gist was as follows –
Melbourne’s Lord Mayor described QVM as an icon needing regeneration and modernising. He described how the market had dropped from first to fourth in a recent survey of Melbourne attractions based on customer experience. He indicated that the large carpark expanse was particularly in need of attention and action was needed to get the market back on track.

Radio station, 3AW, reported the Lord mayor's comments this evening and recorded the following twitter responses on their website -
“Wider range of variety goods, not just the same collection spread over a few dozen stalls #QVMarket"
“Whats wrong with Vic Market as it is now...stop trying to make everything trendy!"
“More live music on Sunday afternoons, less fake merchandise stalls & more vintage clothing stalls...oh and 2 donut vans..."

Hard to disagree with the two donut vans.

New Market Life Ad

QVM have just announced a new TV advertisement through Facebook featuring one of our deli traders. Market Life seems to be gaining momentum as a marketing tool and we like it. We have asked the office for more details of the campaign but in the meantime you can see the ad here -

The office responded to our request for more detail as follows -
"As part of our 12 month advertising campaign with Channel 9 we have produced a series of commercials highlighting different aspects of the Market. The commercials are a mix of both food and general merchandise and focus on individual traders and their life at the Market.
All three adverts will be screened over the next 12 months building the Marketlife brand. The other two commercials are yet to be released."

Tony Pierrakos said:
"FFS is adam de silva our only advertising tool, he seems to be everywhere"
30 September 2011 12:32

How Significant is Online Retailing?

We read lots about the significance of online retailing in Australia but most of it is from marketing organisations with a vested interest so it is interesting to get a retailers perspective.
ASOS, the UK based online clothing giant, has declared Australia a “dark horse”. Two years ago we were the 7th largest market outside the UK, now we are their largest. They have recently opened a Sydney store so that returns for goods bought online don’t have to incur international freight charges. Apparently Australia is returning sales gross that the whole company earned in 2007.
To get things into perspective, here are some facts on ASOS –
  •    50,000 clothing lines
  •     850 brands including its home brand which makes up almost 50 per cent of the stock
  •     Introduces 1,500 new lines each week
  •     Ships to 196 countries across seven sites
  •     They sell enough dresses to cloth Paraguay
  •     The size of their UK warehouse can fit five MCGs
Pretty impressive stuff!

Bizz Buzz – Accounting Software Deal

Bizz Buzz are offering an exclusive deal with MYOB for a free 30 day trial on their Live Accounts Software.
MYOB’s Live Accounts allows you to access your accounts from any computer, anywhere, anytime. Data is safely encrypted online and doesn’t need any clunky software installed on your computer.
If this sounds like it is for you, just click here for details -

New Denim Retail Concept

A new denim retail concept - Industrie Denim – has opened its second store in the US in collaboration with US denim manufacturers including Levi and plans 3 more stores.
Each Industrie store will be staffed by denim experts for customer consultation and will offer not only denim but environmentally sustainable fashions. Each store will be designed with themes inspired by the region where the store is situated and will feature technological advances like waist height cameras in the dressing rooms to show how your butt looks.
Old is new again.

Why Are Kathmandu Performing So Well?

                As major retailers like Myer and David Jones struggle in the current economic climate, outdoors clothing retailer Kathmandu records a significant improvement with sales up 25.4% and earnings up 32%.
                This was achieved on the back of 14 new store openings in 2010/2011 but is still an impressive result. They put their success down to a number of factors including a 30% increase in their online Summit Club membership, increased stock holdings during key promotional periods to take advantage of demand, and re-branding.
 We recently quoted one of the Reserve Bank Governor’s who identified that consumers were moving away from purchases of “stuff” to purchasing lifestyle experiences. Kathmandu’s CEO Peter Halkett explained their performance this way – “So whilst it is clear that consumers have generally been reducing debt and are very cost conscious, we believe those who enjoy outdoor activity and travel have continued to spend money on these pursuits, and have seen the past year as an opportunity to get good value from that spend.”
CONCLUSION: To emulate Kathmandu’s success –
(1)    Improve your online presence.
(2)    Make sure you have enough stock to fully meet demand.
(3)    Enhance the lifestyle aspect of your range.
Sigh!! – It always looks so easy in summary doesn’t it?

Sunday 25 September 2011

Retail News of the Week - 25/9/11

1.       Premier Investments (Just Jeans, Portmans etc.) report a 49% drop in profit for 2011.
2.       282 stores of the old Colorado group are to be rescued in a new venture by creditors.
3.       Ebay have launched a new US virtual shopping outlet which is basically a DFO online.
4.       Australian Retailers Association support call by Premier Investments for a better rent deal for retailers.
5.       Outdoor clothing specialists, Kathmandu, report a record profit for 2010/11 with double digit same store sales growth and improved margins.
6.       Handbag, wallet and jewellery retailer, Oroton, report an 8% increase in profit.

COMMENT from Anonymous
Hot Tip! Immigration officers to inspect market this week, looking out for packers that shouldn't be packing.
26 September 2011 16:09

Market Interview - Paulie & Brian

Name?( Paulie), Palak. (Brian), Brijesh

Where are you from? India (both).

What do you do/sell at the market? Manage pizza@ qv (both).

How long have you been at the market? 4 years (both).

What do you like best about the market? -(p)  Stall holders are very good to me.(b)So many things, making friend and working in a multicultural place.

Worst moment?(p) Rude customers.(b)Some stall holders refusing to pay.

Past jobs ?(p)This is my  first job ever.(b)Electrical Manufacturing industry.

Sporting interests?(p) Cricket.(b)Cricket and AFL.

If you were CEO for a day?(p) Free rent for one day.(b)Free parking for stall holders.

One thing nobody knows about you?(p) Very good at swimming, and mimicking people.(b)When I arrived in Australia I had a moustache.

Favorite food?(p)  Vegetable curry (kadhai paneer). (b)South Indian cuisine (masala dosa).

Favorite drink? (p) Water or juice.(b)Water and tea.

Favorite TV show/ movie ? (p) The X Factor, Bollywood movies. (b)Underbelly, Bollywood movies.

Favorite musician /band? (p) Bollywood /MOHd.rafi/kishorkumar. (b)Lata mangeshkar/ a.r.rehman
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
(p)Work hard now to make future easier. (b) Do to others as you would want done to you.

If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do. ? 
(p)Depends on the weather. (b)Something relaxing.

If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the world, where would you choose to go?
(p)NZ  (b)USA

Who's the most famous person you have met in your stall.? 
Buddy Franklin. (both)

How do you deal with racism ( if you have experienced it)?
(p)Only experience it in a joking manner, don't let it bother me.
(b)Not really, very minor. Not an issue.

Thanks Paulie and Brian

Interviewed by Tony


Trading at the QVM can be very stressful particularly when a prolonged business drought causes financial hardship. Treatment of stress, anxiety and depression is a serious matter, well beyond this trader’s website, but traders can play a part.
Signs of anxiety/depression include unusual tenseness, withdrawal or anger. If you know of a trader who is suddenly acting in a different way, perhaps not communicating as much or even avoiding social contact, they may have a problem. We can all play a role in helping our fellow trader by looking for signs of distress and asking “Are you OK?”

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Online Wine Sales Boom

It appears that wine is being taken up as an online darling of the Australian public with two recent events pointing to strong growth.
Dan Murphy's, Woolworth's online liquor store has been a standout success in this sector recording stellar growth in 2011 and receiving an online retailing award while Crackawines has just received a $5 million venture capital injection for its brand of online wine auctions.
Apparently  browsing for wine online (and receiving convenient home delivery) strikes the right chord with Australian consumers.

Thank You Aldi

You’ve read about the new EFTPOS charges being introduced from 1/10/2011. The operators, EPAL, have refused to identify the impact of changes and whether or not retailers will pay more.
Aldi have decided to take EPAL to the High Court over their lack of transparency. It turns out that EPAL is run by the big banks plus Coles and Woolworths. Apparently they have re-jigged their pricing so that retailers will be forced to pay 5 cents for every transaction over $15. The bombshell is that costs haven’t changed and the fee won’t be charged to Coles or Woolworths (surprise, surprise).
Don’t you just hate getting ripped off? Meantime, thank you Aldi for taking up the fight.

Retailers Sick of Being Gouged By Landlords

Mark McInnes, ex David Jones CEO and now the boss of Premier Investments (Just Jeans, Portmans etc.) has accused shopping centre landlords of gouging tenant retailers with increased rent while retail sales and customer numbers decline.
"It's not in our shareholders' interest to run a loss-making store where the only person making a profit out of our sales is the landlord" said Mr. Mcinnes. In calling for landlords to lower their base rent, Mr McInnes said there was rent tension right across the retail specialty sector. Premier are actively seeking rent reductions of up to 30%.

Is it time for us to make a similar claim fellow traders?

Monday 19 September 2011

Mystery Trader Ailment Identified

I have noticed a lot of male traders, especially the older ones, limping around the market the last 6 months or so.
Then it came to me why.
Those dam toilet push- with-the-knee hand washers.
I see a class action with Slater and Gordon on the horizon.
Who is the clever dick who came up with these?
The majority of people new to the market, can’t figure them out, and the ones that do, hate to use them for fear of damaging their knees.
Come on  market, have you heard of the sensor type?  They’re cheaper, and user friendly.

Thanks to Skippy for this post. - Ed

Comment: 19/9/11
I experienced a very funny moment a while back. A tourist was unable to get the tap to work, so a stall holder decided to play a little joke. He clapped his hands 2 times, cleverly at the same time he put his knee into action. When the tourist clapped his hands no water came out. The prankster and I were laughing uncontrollably.
We set him straight. He was a good sport and he left with clean hands.
- Tony Pierrakos.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Retail News of the Week - 18/9/11

1.       Deloitte Access Economics said this week that retailing is going from “bad to worse”.
2.       The Good Guys continue to lead competitors in customer satisfaction survey.
3.       Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment rose by 8.1 per cent in September to 96.9.
4.       Esprit closes operations in 3 European countries.
5.       Myer almost doubles 2010 profit but predicts a fall for the current year.

Market Interview - John

Name?  John
What do you do/sell at the market?  T-shirts
How long have you been at the market?  37 years.
What do you like best about the market? – The atmosphere.
Worst moment?  Cold days.
Past jobs ?  Electrician   and Export Manager.
Sporting interests?  Sailing , fishing - anything with ocean or snow.
If you were CEO for a day? Put electricity in. I could do it myself.
One thing nobody knows about you? Pass.
Favorite food?  Asian.
Favorite drink?  Beer - Tassie light.
Favorite TV show/ movie ?  Big Bang Theory, Star Wars.
Fav musician /band?  Blues and KD Lang
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?  Never drop you profit margin
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do. ?   Sailing with my family.
If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the world, where would you choose to go? Hawaii.
Who’s the most famous person you have met in your stall.?  Ewan McGregor.
Are you the best or worst golfer from the Vic market golfing crew?  In the middle.

Thanks John

Interviewed by Tony

Blame The Hippies

The sayings used to be “shop till you drop”, “put it on plastic”, “take a bit of retail therapy”. Now its “save before you spend” and the hippie philosophy of “we don’t need all this consumer crap” is taking hold.
In America they are talking about the race to embrace main street values such as thrift, faith, community and hard work. “Stuff” has had its day and there is a growing trend to soul satisfying experiences, which might explain why companies like Flight Centre are booming and why Daily Deal type promotions concentrate on restaurants, holidays and other life experiences. It’s all about doing things rather than buying things.
Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens, says shoppers will return. Not sure we can rely on a “wait and see” attitude, but perhaps, in the meantime, we can highlight all the romance and experience connections of our products (every product has them) and learn to entice our customers at every opportunity.

Carpark Ripoff

We believe the concept of charging customers to park at our market is basically flawed and bad for business.
Customers drive to our market to spend their hard-earned on a variety of goods. We expect them to bypass their neighbourhood shopping centres ( where parking is generally free) to visit us. They have already spent extra on petrol to reach us but we then ask them to fork out for parking as well. Add in the inconvenience of queueing at paying machines and you wonder why they bother.
So why do we charge our customers? This is Melbourne City. This is where some of the dearest parking in the world exists. For various historical reasons Melbourne has a parking fee/fine mentality which is meant to deter congestion. We think it probably works very well, but when you are trying to attract customers you don’t want deterrents.
Suburban shopping centres say “Welcome, we want your business, we want you to buy heaps of goods, and we are going to make it easy for you by giving you free parking while you are giving us your business.”
Queen Victoria Market says “Welcome, we want your business, we want you to buy heaps of goods, but we’d rather you didn’t bring your car. If you can lift your shopping trolley up a few flights of stairs or in to a tram or train or bus we can accommodate you for free.”
What’s that you say? “All city customers have to pay for parking.” That may be true, but let’s face it, we are not competing with other city retailers when it comes to local drivers. We are competing with neighbourhood shopping centres ......and losing the race. And don’t talk to me about the free parking before 10 am. For starters, you’ve basically got to drive in with peak hour traffic. If you are rushing in for a last minute food item that may be OK, but if you are coming in for a relaxing shopping experience, particularly in the top end of the market, it is just not an option.
C’mon QVM! Let’s give some real customer service and encourage locals to drive into the market by offering continuous free parking just like every other major shopping complex outside the city. Our cash registers certainly need the extra business.

Comment - 19/9/11 0740
Agree 100%.
Nothing but greed from the council. You only have to look at the changed parking conditions on the periphery of the market.
7am start paying money all around Therry st, Queen st, and all around.
The wardens are out ready to pounce . The streets are empty. There is no need for them, yet as I come to work at 7.30, there they are issuing infringements. Is a sad site to see. It makes me mad.
Look I don’t know how or what we can do, but something has to be done, to welcome, the people here, not stop them.
- The market is a cash cow for the council, as well as an iconic place. Dont kill it. - Skippy

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Traders Have Their Say

On the subject of directing customers and trader grouping - (

"To Anon - it would seem rational and even good sense to assist the customers who may be in a rush to locate the stall they seek, with one or two information booths (customer service from the management)INSTEAD OF TURNING THE MARKET INSIDE OUT. All the traders and their daily locations are on the computer in the office. Please note: there has previously been an information booth, it was manned free of charge by volunteers as in other city Melbourne information points ,located in the small plaza corner Queen &Therry, closed by managment, now a flower stall." - Anonymous

Responding to above comment -
"Great idea - an info booth. Lost and found. I'm sure it would be great, and I'm sure it would be kept busy." - Skippy

"I wonder why the information booth closed. Perhaps somebody from the office could let us know." - Greg

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Shipping Container Makes Great Temporary Store

A Christchurch coffee shop proprietor, sick of waiting for his shopping mall to be repaired after the earthquake, has set up temporary business in a used shipping container.
The container is rented from shipping company Royal Wolf and thanks to a co-operative furniture retailer is located in a carpark close to pedestrian traffic. The proprietor has salvaged equipment from his mall shop and brings fresh chlorine free water from home each day. The fact that the container is portable, waterproof and  able to be locked up at night is extremely beneficial.
The proprietor’s store is expected to reopen in 2012, but in the meantime, the container is doing a fine job.

Monday 12 September 2011

Even The QVM Objects To Aspects of Strategy Plan

The City North Structure Plan (see below) allowed for objections to be raised to its draft document.  One of the objectors was Russell Kennedy Group on behalf of QVM.
Russell Kennedy Objection –
Identifies the following inadequacies:
·         Largely ignores the considerable strategic work relating to the QVM.
·         Fails to give due recognition to the important role that the QVM plays in Melbourne.
·         Does not identify the strategic planning issues facing QVM, nor give any indication as to how its objectives are to be achieved.

Recommends the following:
·         Set out QVM’s opportunities and constraints
·         List objectives for the QVM site.
·         List strategies to address the current and future planning issues confronting QVM.

Council Response –
The MSS includes broad strategies to support the continued operation of the Queen Victoria Market as well as its development if appropriate.  It is not appropriate for the MSS to include details of the issues or opportunities facing the site.
The area is identified as an Urban Renewal Area.  Change will take place in the context of a well developed Structure Plan. The redevelopment of the car park site adjacent to the Market will be the subject of a separate piece of work looking at development opportunities on the site. 

More On The Mystery Plans

Melbourne City Council is to be presented with a stategic plan for the northern end of the city including The Queen Victoria Market. The strategy plan uses terms like "renewal" and "rejuvenation"  of The Queen Victoria Market without going into specifics. The plan was to be presented in June/July this year but has now been put back to December.
We have condensed the references to the QVM in the draft plan as follows -

"City North Structure Plan 2011   DRAFT
This report is provided for information and it does not purport to be complete. While care has been taken to ensure the content in the report is accurate, we cannot guarantee that the report is without flaw of any kind, there may be errors and omissions or may not be wholly appropriate for your particular purposes. In addition, the publication is a snapshot in time based on historic information which is liable to change. The City of Melbourne accepts no responsibility and disclaims all liability for any error,loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information contained in this report.
The Queen Victoria Market is a major tourist destination and Melbourne icon. These factors, coupled with the area’s current density, further its status within the Central City. However, its potential is not fully realised. The renewal of the precinct will see an increase in its
Transform Victoria Street
The Queen Victoria Market precinct will be rejuvenated so that future generations can enjoy Melbourne’s world renowned market and tourist attraction. The redevelopment of the former Carlton and United Brewery (CUB) site will also be a vibrant new retail and recreation
hotspot. Victoria Street will be transformed into a high quality boulevard linking these sites.
There will be opportunities for new public spaces within these activity nodes at the intersections of Victoria and Swanston Streets and Victoria and Elizabeth Streets.
The Victoria Street activity corridor will give much higher priority to pedestrian movement and amenity and public transport users.
Future Melbourne Community Plan
(City of Melbourne 2008)
Endorsed in September 2008, Future Melbourne is a community plan which provides the vision for Melbourne to grow as a global city and one of the top ten most liveable and sustainable cities of the world.
The Plan identifies six high level goals to guide to achieve the vision, these are:
• a city for people • a creative city • a prosperous city • a city of knowledge • an eco-city
• a connected city
Specific goals and targets have also been identified as part of Future Melbourne and have been considered in the preparation of the draft structure plan. These are included in Appendix A of the City North Structure Plan
Values, issues and opportunities consultation
Beginning in September 2010, consultation on the issues and opportunities in City North ran for six weeks. This included a community consultation evening on 13 September 2010 and an online forum that ran for one month following that event. Formal submissions were also welcomed throughout this time. The findings of this consultation have informed the preparation of the principles and objectives.
Further information on the consultation has been incorporated into the Background Report.
Heritage overlay and heritage listed buildings There are limitations with development in the heritage overlay specific to City
North. A number of heritage listed buildings are also within the study area, including the Queen Victoria Market and the former Metropolitan Meat Market. Moderate growth can occur in these areas subject to heritage controls.
• Enhance the role of QVM
 Improve the role of the QVM and the surrounding area as both a local and regional attraction meeting the needs for visitors, residents and workers.
• Extend the operating hours and deliver a wider range of retail services at the QVM.
2 Queen Victoria Market
The area south of the Queen Victoria Market, is a strategic renewal opportunity and intensification of development in the Queen
Queen Victoria Market
The strategic review of the Queen Victoria Market will look at the potential for greater use of the public open space within this site. Any enhancement to the public space in this precinct will further position the market as a key community asset for both visitors and the City North community.
6. Investigate the potential for enhancing the Queen Victoria Market public realm as a new and revitalised urban space.
The Queen Victoria Market
Potential opportunities for consideration include enhancing the market’s role as a community gathering and event space and de

Process and timeline
Arden Macaulay and City North Structure Plans 2010-2012
Work commenced on the Arden Macaulay and City North Structure Plans in 2010. The
Plans are being finalised for December 2011. The process, including the adoption of the
Planning Scheme Amendments to implement actions outlined in the structure plans  is
expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
The Planning Scheme Amendment will be considered in 2012, with a number of
opportunities for the public to participate in the process and to provide written or verbal
If you would like further information regarding these processes and timelines, please
contact Strategic Planning via:
Phone: (03) 9658 9658"

As always, if you would like to comment on this article please click on the "Comment Here" link below.

Media Interviews - How To.

What should you do if approached for a media interview? We are not experts on this subject but we have done a bit of research and here are a few tips - 
1. Ask the reporter what he/she is trying to achieve. Reporters will be given a story to chase up. So, yes, they will have an agenda. There is nothing wrong with that. The point is, that if you know the agenda in advance, it will help you frame your answers. 
2. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. In other words, be honest and don't attempt to make up an answer.
3. Be polite. Reporters will often be looking for a controversial answer. That's fine, but try and do it without denigrating market management or council. You can be critical without going over the top.
4. Be positive. Even negative subjects can be put in a positive light. Last weekend the ABC were doing a story on the decline of business in the market. We know of at least one trader who answered "Times are tough but, fortunately, we are better off than shopping centres because we give personal service to our customers." 
5. Relax. It is often said that any publicity is good publicity. If you answer the questions truthfully, you have nothing to apologize for. 
A big thank you to all those who were brave enough to talk to the ABC TV crew this week.