Tuesday 31 January 2012

Woolworths To Cut Dick Smiths

Woolworths have confirmed that it is divesting its Dick Smith’s chain with various options being touted including closing non-performing stores and selling others.
Dick Smiths have been part of the electronics “dumb-down” as retailers fight over ever decreasing margins. The appliance category has suffered from decreased customer satisfaction with a recent study showing that JB HiFi and Harvey Norman came in about average whilst Dick Smith’s was below average.
The study by broker Linwar Securities suggested that customer service was the single most important factor for differentiating specialty retailers.

Monday 30 January 2012

New Product Idea - Fashion Leisure Clothing

It is not our normal brief to recommend new product lines but every now and then a new idea comes up that catches our attention.

Believe or not these are tracky pants but with a business style - belt loops, fly front, pockets and all made of terry cloth. They sell for $90 in the US, but for pants you can comfortably wear to work, the beach, and to bed, maybe that's not bad value. - Betabrand

Trader's Say: On Buses

Original Post: http://www.victraders.com/2012/01/tourist-buses-re-visited.html

"Yes!!YES!! YES!! That's what I'm talkin' about !! To advertise on the sides of a bus by some corporates. eg, Citywide, the car park company, dibella coffee, tattslotto, just to name a few that are involved in the and around the market. Vouchers VOLUNTEERED from two fish, two meat, two deli and any general that want to participate, which hopefully would be lots!!"
Rosalie - 29/1/2012 - 2258hrs

Yes, great idea, specially if they go down to pick up patrons at the cruise ships and, it's a bit late now but maybe for next year, the tennis.
Posted by Leah to General Merchandise Traders at 30 January 2012 18:37

Sunday 29 January 2012

Rod Laver Visits Market

Bragging rights for celebrity customers have reached new heights for trader Chiam following Rod Laver's visit to his stall today. Apart from being an absolute tennis legend, Mr. Laver obviously has good taste in men's shirts. To quote Chiam "He was a real gentleman".

Bad Start To The Day For Trader

One of our traders had parked in Peel St at the top of L shed to take some last minute top-up stock to his stall. The time was 8:22am, the streets were empty, and few stalls had commenced setup much less have customers around. That didn’t stop our intrepid parking guy from inflicting a $122.00 fine on the trader.
Seems grossly unfair but take the warning – few things are fair when it comes to MCC parking money grabs and it pays to obey the signs.

Why Are We Wasting Time With A Coffee Poll?

Why are we wasting time with a coffee poll when there are more important things for traders to worry about? A fair question from one of our traders today.
The coffee poll is a bit of fun and we like the enthusiastic involvement of traders and the coffee shops. The point of electronic polls is to make your trader's association more efficient. The last major survey we did was to ask General Merchandise Traders whether they wanted to trade on Easter Tuesday 2011. It took 3 people two full days to conduct that poll and we simply don't have the resources to do that on a regular basis.

Electronic polls allow your representatives to find out trader's views much more efficiently. Nothing is going to replace personal contact between traders, (it is one of the joys of working at this place) but there are times when we need a better way. The coffee poll is our first attempt at this process and it is working well.

To those of you who are not comfortable with modern electronic communication we apologise, but if we are to become more effective as an association we need to move with the times. If there is any aspect of this process that you have problems with, please contact us. We do have traders who request more traditional ways of participating and we are happy to accomodate them.

Andrew Georgiou tell the trader to chill out , the coffee poll has a deep meaning, but you have to be wise to get it.  (Facebook - 29/1/2012 at 5:39pm )

Friday 27 January 2012

Latest Retail News – 27/01/2012

1.       Commsec card data shows improvement in December retail sales.
2.       Ikea plans worldwide expansion on the back of soaring profits.
3.       Australia’s surging dollar makes online buying even more attractive to consumers.
4.       Woolworths launches its own daily deal website – Door Buster.
5.       In the 12 months to September 2011 Australians spent $40.5 Billion on outbound travel.
6.       80% of book sellers reported improved December sales over 2010 following demise of Borders and Angus & Robertson.
7.       Booming WA continues to leave other states behind.
8.       Smartphones expected to drop significantly in price in 2012 giving more consumers access to mobile shopping.
9.       Pumpkin Patch warns Australian landlords that any rent increases are unacceptable in the current environment.
10.   Franchised Food Company (Mr. Whippy, Nutshack etc.) warns landlords about rent gouging.
11.   MacQuarie Securities declare Harvey Norman franchise fee structure unsustainable in tough times.
12.   Huge crowds (70,000) joined Adelaide’s Rundle Mall’s first opening on Australia Day.

Latest Online Fashion Craze

BeachMint is a new technology start-up which has received $millions in financing for a unique retailing idea.
BeachMint liaises with celebrities (sometimes two) who work with a well known fashion entrepreneur to create unique items which are shipped at regular intervals to subscribers. Subscribers have the choice of accepting or returning the item with free shipping both ways. Goods are priced to give significant savings off retail.
BeachMint launched its first vertical, JewelMint, in October 2010, pairing actress Kate Bosworth with her stylist Cher Coulter. Each month the duo select or create pieces of jewelry that get delivered to subscribers, who pay $30 a month for pieces that the company says would normally retail for a multiple of that price. Other Mint launches have included Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen with T-shirts, Jessica Simpson and a Beverley Hills skin expert with a skin care range, and Rachel Bilson and Nicole Chavez partnering with shoe stylist Steve Madden.
The company is reporting huge growth.

Making It Easier For Air Tourists

Tourists complain about many aspects of air travel with weight limits probably being at the top of the list but one issue is about to be resolved.
Carrying liquids onboard a plane has been restricted because of security concerns about explosives being hidden inside containers. A new laser scanner has been approved by European authorities to quickly scan any liquid at the check-in and hopefully remove current restrictions.
Anything that makes life easier for our tourists is welcome. 

De-bunking The Reasons For Retail Downturn

We’ve heard them all – GFC, floods, unfair online competition, consumer confidence, savings mentality. There are many reasons put forward for the retail downturn, but are they all crap?
An analysis published this week points out that consumer spending is actually up 5.7% while retail spending, including food, is only up 2.1%. Take out food and discretionary retail spending is only up 1%. (Ed: we need to know how much of that 5.7% was things like electricity price rises, but, hey, let’s run with this for now.)
Why has retailing lost ground? The analysis by Citigroup’s Craig Woolford blames three factors –
1.       Travel by Australian consumers is taking 2.3%.
2.       Online retail sales are taking 1.7%.
3.       Price deflation (lower prices particularly on electrical goods) is taking 1.3%.
Australians spent $40.5 billion on outbound travel in the 12 months to September 2011 leading some commentators to suggest that the real culprit for the retail downturn is Australians travelling overseas. Finding someone to blame doesn’t really help anyone. We need the solution(s) and we are still looking.

New Customer Service Gains Favour

A number of larger retailers are introducing an attractive new online customer feature that can be duplicated by  any size retailer with an online presence.
It is called “Click’n’Collect” which basically allows the customer to click an item on the retailers website and then pick it up in store. Customers who prefer the physical shopping experience can be sure their trip won’t be in vain if goods are reserved for them. The option would be available to registered users of your website so that the customer can be quickly contacted should anything go wrong.  If you have a website we suggest you talk to your web designer about incorporating the feature.
This type of service is all about improving relations with your customers.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Trader's Proposal Gains Support

Topshot, the new UK based clothing retailer with a high profile store in Chapel St. Prahran, has launched a sign-written double decker bus to take city customers to its store.
The buses itinerary is advertised frequently on Facebook and Twitter and passengers are given an electronic card with the chance of winning prizes in store. Reminscent of our trader, Alan’s, proposal  http://www.victraders.com/2012/01/tourist-buses-re-visited.html when he proposed a QVM bus along similar lines.

Poll Result - Temperature

A snap poll on this site asked traders the question - "At what temperature do you start having second thoughts about attending the market?
72% of respondents said the temperature would need to be 36C or above to have second thoughts about attending the market while 28% said a temperature between 31C and 35C would be enough.

Jillian Renwood says......
The temperature in K and J sheds is always approx a minimum of10degrees higher. More people die of heat Stroke than traffic accidents.  (From Facebook 27/01/2012)

Monday 23 January 2012

Searching This Website

A number of traders have asked how they find a past article.

On the right hand column we have added a Search function which will allow you to search keywords all the way back to our first posts. Remember that market interviews are filed under the first name of the trader.

This feature should make it easier to use our site.


Sunday 22 January 2012

Trading On Public Holidays

This article has been reposted due to additional comments. It was originally posted on 9/1/2012

It is probably time we re-visited the question of trading on public holidays as another pubic holiday is upon us with Australia Day falling on Thursday 26th January.
Traders might remember that the QVM decided to close on the Tuesday Anzac Day holiday (in lieu) earlier in 2011. General Merchandise Traders objected to the planned closure for the following reasons –

1.       It was a normal trading day.
2.       The holiday was a day in lieu of Anzac Day which occurred on the Monday.
3.       Anzac Day coincided with Easter, a prime tourist time.
4.       Traders on licences could elect to take a day off from their yearly allocation if they wished.
5.       Traders on leases effectively pay rent for the day whether they trade or not.
6.       The public would expect the market to open.
7.       A comprehensive survey of traders by GMT found over 70% in favour of trading.
CEO Jenny Hibbs rescinded the earlier decision and General Merchandise Traders were able to trade on the Tuesday.  Trading reports ranged from average to very good.
A similar situation arose recently with the Boxing Day Holiday (in lieu) falling on a Tuesday. For similar reasons to those listed above, your traders representatives asked management to open the market for GMT on Tuesday 27th December, although on this occasion trading reports were almost all very good with plenty of tourists visiting the market.
Australia Day falls on a trading day this month – Thursday 26th January – and trader’s representatives have maintained their consistent line of asking the market to open on a normal trading day. Management have decided that the top end of the market will be open on Australia Day. Not all traders are going to welcome this decision and it is an unfortunate by-product of majority decisions that we can’t please everyone.
Is it time we re-visited the question of trading on a public holiday? Let us know your thoughts by clicking on the link at the top of the right hand column on this page – “Post A Comment”.


Anonymous ARIEL GABIZON said...
10 January 2012 00:22

 Albert said...
Albert Renwood- I have no problem with Trading on a public holiday. I object to being forced to trade on a National Public holiday when it was never the normal practice. It is confusing Customers when the market opens some holidays and closes on others. In previous years these market days were promoted as special markets. Traders have been given no formal notice of this Australia Day trade just word of mouth.

10 January 2012 15:40

Ed said...
You raise some good points Alby. Confusion is certainly one of the issues here. On its own website, and in various publications, the market advertises that it is open every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the year except Good Friday, Anzac Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years Day. General Merchandise Traders have taken the view that any trading day outside that list (including public holidays in lieu) should be traded. It is a simple rule that could be seen as reducing the confusion.
On the other hand, if enough traders feel strongly about it, perhaps Australia Day should join the exclusion list. Certainly, we should get better notice of what is to happen. Word of mouth notice, two weeks before the event, is really not good enough.

11 January 2012 11:15

Leah said....
If we are to trade on public holidays, they need to advertise a lot more, in general, the hours of the market need to be advertised a lot better. I have so many people asking me everyday what the hours of the market are. I feel we shouldn't trade on Australia Day as most people spend the day at BBQ's and drinking. It's an Australian tradition.
I think it's good for traders to have an extra day or two off from the normal days occasionally.
22 January 2012 21:50

Trader Has His Say On Temperature

You might have noticed our poll in the right hand column titled "At what temperature would you have second thoughts about trading at the market?"
Trader Mino had this to say -

"There should be  another answer in your poll:
  1. 30C and under
  2. 31-35
  3. 36+
  4. I don't care
I am for no:4
Just Leather Products"
Great idea Mino. We tried to add that option in but a couple of votes had been posted already, so no editing. We'll remember it for next time. Thanks for the input. - Ed

Market Interview - Uscha

Name? Uscha
Born ? Amsterdam
What do you do/sell at the market? Handmade leather journals.
How long have you been at the market? 5 months.
What do you like best about the market? -  Different customers to converse with.
 Worst moment?  Quiet days make for a long day.
Past jobs? I'm a carpenter.
Sporting interests? Yoga and swimming.
One thing nobody knows about you? I wanted to be Steven Spielberg at a young age as maybe an art director in movies.
Favourite food? Great bread and cheeses with a good red wine.
Favourite drink? Red wine.
Favourite TV show/ movie ? We don't have a TV but I love documentaries.
Favourite music ? Jazz
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do? I love to make things at home with my hands, be creative, or be with my rabbits and chooks.
How do you find life at Vic Market compared to other Melbourne / Victorian markets you have traded at? This is very diverse here. You have regular stalls mixed with hippie stalls, organic fruit, and veggies. Other markets tend to have one or the other.

Thanks Uscha

Interviewed by Tony

Who Makes The Best Coffee? – More Information

We now have nominations for our trader’s poll on who makes the best coffee in the market. There are of course a huge number of outlets at the QVM who sell coffee and we’ve had to keep the list down to the most popular nominations but, do not despair. If your favourite outlet does not show on the list, you will be able to type in your own choice and it will count.
Emails will be sent out to registered participants next week and you will be given a web address to visit and vote. If you already receive our weekly trader’s emails or you have registered in the last few days you will be able to vote. Voting closes on Tuesday 31st January and we will publish a winner and runner-up a few days after that.

Inspirational Projects – Balloon House

This is not a trick photo. This house was lifted into the air by over 300 weather balloons as part of a new National Geographic channel program.
It was highlighted recently in a web article dedicated to inspire small businesses as they look to 2012 and create new ideas to excite their customers.

Friday 20 January 2012

Latest Retail News – 20/1/2012

1.       Belgian food retailer Delhaize closes 20 European stores and 113 US stores due downturn.
2.       After positive signs in November, US retail sales fell flat in December with a paltry 0.1% increase.
3.       Study shows one in three Britons used mobile phones to help them buy presents in the Christmas lead-up.
4.       Under-performing department store retailer David Jones and electronics retailer Harvey Norman have been identified as likely private equity targets.
5.       Priceline optimistic about 2012 after 7% lift in December sales.
6.       Victorian Government makes it easier for bulky goods retailers to enter shopping centres with new planning rules.
7.       Katies, Millers, La Senza group could close up to 120 stores following poor 2011.
8.       Pumpkin Patch is to quit its UK operations following severe losses.
9.       Google, Microsoft post hefty profits while Sony-Ericsson suffers huge loss.
10.   All 4 Australian supermarket brands show improved customer satisfaction with Aldi at top.

Semi-Naked Shoppers Rewarded

Spanish fashion chain, Desigual, offered the first one hundred customers who turned up in underwear a free set of clothes at their Lyon, France, store.
The idea was described as a huge success although neighbouring retailers were described as “distracted”.

Retail Predictions – The Middle Ground Will Go

Very interesting article in Inside Retailing this week predicts that the future is ok for mega size/ mega cheap retailers at one end and small highly specialised niche retailers at the other end, but those in the middle will not survive.
The customers who want good price and not much else will flock to the mega stores and the customers who want product connection and personal value will go to the niche retailers. That leaves stores like Harvey Norman, Myer, and David Jones (who try to do everything) in no mans land.
Having, or finding a point of difference appears to be the key for market traders.

Tourist Buses Re-visited

Trader Alan has thoughts on a market bus program that would involve the market running its own bus around the city (like Chadstone Shopping Centre do). The venture would be partially subsidised by corporate advertising on the side of the bus and traders could spice up the offer with special discount vouchers made available to passengers. There is a lot more to consider in a venture like this so, get to it and, give us your thoughts.

Market Meter Maids

Trader Andy was inspired by a TV program on the famous meter maids of Surfers Paradise and wonders why we couldn't have something similar at QVM.
The public perceives car parking fines as a ripoff and the free publicity and goodwill generated by a meter maid scheme would appear to be substantial. We don't anticipate scantily clad bikini girls or as one female trader suggested, men in mankini's, but a theme more in keeping with QVM tradition could no doubt be found.
We welcome your input on this suggestion and any other ideas on parking subsidisation.

It's a good idea but there are still a lot of traders, mainly the food side of us, parking in queen St all day, so I think that needs to be sorted first as they are taking up valuable spaces for paying customers.
Posted by Leah to General Merchandise Traders at 30 January 2012 21:10

Revolutionising Mobile Payments

Over past years international tourists have marvelled at the sophisticated mobile EFTPOS systems we humble traders use at the Queen Victoria Market but recent developments overseas could be leaving us behind.
SQUARE is a credit card payment system that utilises a plug-in card reader on your mobile phone turning it into a card terminal. The card reader costs only $10 although the fee charged to the retailer is quite high – around 2.75%. SQUARE is only available in the USA. CARD.IO is a new system that involves photographing the customer’s credit card with your mobile phone to achieve transaction approval. There are many other fledgling payment systems around that are designed to make it easier for customers and retailers to transact outside the bank controlled EFTPOS system although most of them don’t appear to be available in Australia.
While the bank fees for our mobile EFTPOS system remain at a reasonable level (most traders seem to pay around 0.9% plus a monthly fee of $25) we can take some comfort in the security and convenience we give our customers. Not sure I would be happy with some unknown retailer taking a photograph of my credit card.

Saturday 14 January 2012

No Ugly Vans Here

New trader, Solomon, has a good idea for covering his van while keeping it in close proximity to his stall. Such a simple measure maintains convenience without destroying the look of his product range and the market. In fact the bamboo curtain enhances both.

Friday 13 January 2012

Coffee - Who Has The Best?

Latest Retail News – 13/1/2012

1.     Retail sales flat-lined in November, failing to be sparked either by the RBA’s interest rate cut or a burst of pre-Christmas shopping activity.
2.     Super retail Group reports 35% sales jump following acquisition of Rebel and Amart.
3.     American department store chain, Sears, closes another 120 stores.
4.     Dolce & Gabbana incur thousands of protests over ban on photographing store front.
5.     Pacific Brands, owners of Bonds, King Gee and Sheridan is being targeted by private equity firm.
6.     McDonalds introduce invisible DNA spray to help police track thieves.
7.     The giant annual electronic show, CES, features ultra-thin laptops, new smartphones and 3D TVs for 2012.
8.     Carpet Court opens online sales of rugs.
9.     Pop-up retailers frequent rundown retail areas in San Francisco.
10.   Operator of 140 store UK lingerie chain, La Senza, goes into administration.
11.   Toys’R’Us, and Dan Murphy’s lead traditional retailers online surge this Christmas.
12.   Pandora  Jewelery closes 100 wholesale accounts as it focuses on branded concept stores.
13.   Retailers and builders lead the list of business collapses in 2011.

Tourism Industry Seeks Government Assistance

The Tourism and Transport Industry Forum says the tourist industry deserves the same level of support as the Australian car industry.
The Forum said that tourism employs over 500,000 Australians and is an important economic driver for many regional areas (and The Queen Victoria Market – Ed). In the last decade over $12 billion has been given to support the automotive industry and money is needed to promote Australia in emerging markets like China, India and Indonesia. In addition, Australians who are travelling overseas in record numbers, need to be encouraged to see Australian destinations as well.

Market Interview - Alby

Name? Alby
Born ? Melbourne
What do you do/sell at the market? Luggage
How long have you been at the market? What time is it now? 1970 - working at the butchers. My own stall in 1983.
What do you like best about the market? -  Challenge.
 Worst moment? Loss of a fellow trader
Past jobs? Butcher
Sporting interests? AFL
One thing nobody knows about you? I can play the banjo.
Favourite food? Steak and chips.
Favourite drink? VB (beer)
Favourite TV show/ movie ? Dexter
Favourite band? All music.
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do? Sit back and relax and watch Essendon (AFL) if possible
If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the where would you go? Paris

Thanks Alby

Interviewed by Tony