Sunday 29 September 2013

Latest Retail News – 27/9/2013

Latest Retail News – 27/9/2013

1. Donut King rebrands with new store look and new logo.
2. Goodyear to close several Australian tyre stores following poor sales.
3. Global online fashion retailer, Asos, reports 40% increase in sales for 2013.
4. Kathmandu lifts full year profit almost 27%.
5. Ibisworld predicts newspaper, magazine and book retailing will continue to shrink. 
6. Tech pioneer, Blackberry, expected to announce sale to private consortium.
7. US consumer confidence fell slightly in September as nervousness over economic outlook rises.
8. David Jones says it will concentrate on multi-channel retailing, more staff and store renewals.
9. Costco’s new store in Ringwood expected to open in November.
10. Jewellers, Angus & Coote, claim high shopping centre rents have pushed them to the limit.
11. Ripcurl opens flagship store in Jakarta.
12. US luxury department store, Saks Fifth Avenue, plans expansion into Asia.
13. Big W launches e-book website.
14. Pumpkin Patch returns to profit in 2013 posting A$4.56m.
15. Nike says first quarter net income rose 38%.

Who Is Pinching Our Retail Dollar?

Are you confused by reports that Australian’s are spending more than ever while retail sales in major Australian retailers are declining? Well you are not alone and an article in Smart Company has identified some of the culprits who are pinching the retail dollar.
Tech companies like Apple and Microsoft take a huge slice of the spending pie. Apple’s recently released new iPhone range has had the cash registers ringing across all Apple stores and the volumes are huge. And it is not just the phone hardware, but the spending on telco’s accounts like Telstra and Optus that takes money away from traditional retailing.
Gaming is a thriving form of entertainment and the release of the latest edition of popular gaming title, Grand Theft Auto, drew sales of $800m in one day across the US and Europe. That is $800m in ONE day. Add in some new gaming consoles and some more blockbuster game titles before Christmas and the impact on overall spending is very high.
Then of course we have mortgage repayments. Now we know that house prices have been on the rise and the amount of money that banks have been prepared to lend is huge. Add in a desire by Australians to reduce their debt and increase their savings, and we can see why other areas of spending have suffered.
And what about energy costs – electricity and petrol. They are going up by leaps and bounds and taking our spending ability with them. And the list goes on.
At the end of an article like this it is normal for the writer to identify ways of overcoming the problems raised...................
.............................................................................................................Hmm............................................Well..................................... Aaaaah...................... Nope! Nothing comes to mind, certainly no quick fixes. What do you think? How do we turn around retail spending?

Men Shoppers Breaking Stereotypes

US consumer data is showing that men are more likely to look for sales items and embrace the shopping experience than we might have thought.
Millennial and Gen X men have been brought up in a shopping centre culture and their social activities often centred around shopping centres. Global economic difficulties have made price consciousness an acceptable shopping ingredient even for men and they are adopting some of the more sophisticated shopping techniques previously associated with women.
A number of US retailers are upgrading their investment on men shoppers. They often need to adjust their strategies including making shopping as efficient as possible and removing aspects that might make the process tedious. For QVM, we may need to make our directory assistance at the market more sophisticated with electronic touch pads or the like, but it sounds like the rewards may be worth it at least for this shopper group.

Friday 27 September 2013

Who Is In Control of Retailing? -

The dynamics of retailing have changed significantly and traders who want to turn back the clock are just wasting their time. How often do you hear traders say “Just bring back the customers we used to have” as if we simply have to recreate the conditions of the past. It is true that we need to understand what drives our customers but meeting their needs is going to involve totally different ways of doing things and the customers we used to have no longer exist.

The answer to our question “Who is in control of retailing?” used to be wholesalers who searched the world looking for products and then made them available to retailers often with a high degree of exclusivity involved. Then retailers got wise and started doing the same thing. They would go direct to factories overseas, cut out the wholesaler and offer direct to their extremely grateful customers who liked the new transparency and the slightly cheaper prices that often went with it. But now, thanks to the world wide web, it is the customer who has direct access and their understanding of what a product is worth has changed significantly. Online retailing is quiet amazing. You can sit in the comfort of your home, examine catalogs at your leisure, make a choice, pay immediately, and then sit back and wait for the goods to arrive, usually delivered to your door. The convenience aspect is huge and there is little doubt that the customer is now in control.

Does that mean that retailers like us are superfluous? Well, no. Consumers still want to touch and feel products. They still want expert product advice. And they still enjoy the bricks’n’mortar shopping experience. But, to put it crudely, you cannot afford to piss them off because online is a very attractive second choice. Does that mean that retailers like us need to change how we operate? Well, yes. We need to get the convenience aspect really right. No broken promises, no nasty surprises, and no stock outs (unless you set up a raincheck). Keeping up with what's hot and being innovative is also very important. We need to provide great value at all times, not just in the product, but in the services that go with it. Even more, we need to show that we are prepared to go the extra mile to meet their needs. It is becoming increasingly apparent that price is not the be-all and end-all of good customer relations. Customers will be prepared to pay a little extra, maybe as much as 20% extra, if the service you provide is exceptional.

So, what do we do now? Pretty up  your stall (professionally merchandise it) so that customers know you take pride in what you are selling. Provide all the services that make it easy for your customers like a variety of payment methods, open return policies and a variety of delivery options. Be innovative and exciting and, above all, give your customers the respect they deserve. After all, they are now in control.

Trader's Comment On Bus Parking

24/09/2013 10:11:24 BUS PARKING "I recently heard an idea proposing buses be allowed to park in A and B sheds. great idea however i think you would have trouble convincing stall holders in C shed for  it is a good idea.They would have to be facing all the crowds , the fumes the noise, traffic congestion,etc. Without waiting to wait until my kids have children, I believe a viable solution would be to utilise queen street, all the area opposite a, b, c d ,e sheds. Easily accessible, room for a number of buses and considering that area is used on Saturdays for car parking, WHY NOT. The council needs to start looking at the interests of the market rather than their revenue model. Might have a few expenses to cordon off, etc but seriously it is not ROCKET SCIENCE.It seems these solutions are 
not being proposed to allow various people to justify their jobs, The new CEO comes in and what will he/she do. Again , he/she will need 3 months to get up to speed, then another meeting to discuss the previous meetings, and then more meetings to discuss possible solutions and then I wake up to find out 10 years down the track the council and management are still brainstorming..I have given  a simple and practical, short term solution and it cost nothing"

Have Your Say - click here.

29/9/2013 10:05 Bus Parking "I'd like to see an alternative proposal for loading/unloading of fruit trucks and forklift movement before giving up Queen St. to buses. Buses would create quite a barrier between the top and bottom sections of the market. What about the current car park (without reducing the number of car parking spots)."

Monday 23 September 2013

Dutch Retail Promotion Thrills Crowd

This video of a shopping centre event in Holland is promoted a museum and specifically one of its important paintings. It is a very creative way of involving retail in public promotion activities. Just check out the crowd reaction.

Thanks to Bob Andrewartha for the link.

Best Australian Market Voted By Travellers

The Sunshine Coast is rejoicing over Trip Advisor's latest ratings for best market in Australia with Queensland's Noosa winning top spot and Eumundi Market running fourth.

To get things into perspective Noosa Farmers Market only gets a few reviews each month but the ratings are consistently high and it seems to have established a niche for gourmet foods of excellence at a premium price.

Trip Advisors review rating system ranks our QVM a lowly 8th behind Adelaide, South Melbourne, and Prahran markets.

According to Trip Advisor the top 10 markets in Australia are as follows:

1. Noosa Farmers Market – Sunshine Coast
2. Adelaide Central Market – Adelaide
3. South Melbourne Market – Melbourne
4. Eumundi Market – Sunshine Coast
5. Prahran Market – Melbourne
6. Salamanca Market – Hobart
7. Sunday Market Port Douglas – Port Douglas
8. Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne
9. Parap Market – Darwin
10. Sydney Fish Market - Sydney

Apparently Noosa and Eumundi's combination of farmer's market, art & craft stalls, and lay back style is a winner with travellers.

Before you put your stall up for sale we should point out that Trip Advisor ranks QVM as Melbourne's no.2 shopping destination ahead of DFO South Wharf, David Jones, and Haigh's Chocolates. And the no.1 shopping destination in Melbourne according to Trip Advisor reviews? - South Melbourne Market.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Latest Retail News – 22/9/2013

Latest Retail News – 22/9/2013

1. Leading pharmaceutical companies urge new Australian government not to cut Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme.
2. Kogan considers partial sale as strategic option.
3. Pie Face to launch drive through concept at Gold Coast store.
4. US August retail sales flat with cars and electronics up but clothing and sporting goods down.
5. Prada opens 2 new stores in China.
6. Myer profit slips 8.7% but expects return to profit growth 2015.
7. Westfield to sell 7 US malls.
8. Ibisworld research shows Australian plus size clothing stores thriving.
9. Smiggle to launch stores in UK.
10. Reject Shop says no to online selling “until number stack up”.
11. Peter Alexander sleepwear to be sold in Myer.
12. Bruce Billson elected Minister of Small Business in new Tony Abbot ministry.
13. Woolworths considering new brand “Woolworths Local” to market products from local farmers and suppliers.
14. JB HiFi rumoured to have made offer for Good Guys electrical chain.
15. Oroton’s store sales down 4% for 2013.
16. Dubai’s high end jeweller, Monili, to open first international store in Brisbane.
17. Nespresso opens pop-up “coffee Havens” in Melbourne and Sydney during September.
18. Starbucks bans guns in its US stores.
19. Australia Post announces increased parcel charges from 7th October.
20. Williams Sonoma to open first dedicated West Elm home furnishings store outside US in Chapel St. Melbourne.
21. Billabong finally restructures and appoints new CEO.
22. David Jones to stock one of UK’s top fashion labels, Phase Eight.

Plus Size Clothing Thrives

Clothing traders may like to check this article on Inside Retails website -

It reports a thriving niche retail market in plus size clothing with higher than average profit margins. 

Casual Traders Are Worth their Weight In Gold

Trader Representative Stephen McLennan recently completed a review of the QVM casual stall allocation system and came to the conclusion that we don’t treat casuals well enough.

Stall allocations are full of uncertainties. Casual traders have to queue up each morning to find out what stalls are available for the day, they have to wait patiently for their turn to choose a stall, quickly head off to set up before customers start arriving, and often cope with unexpected hurdles like other trader’s vehicles or storage boxes being parked in their stall. Sometimes they experience unfriendly neighbours who have some irrational (and occasionally rational) reasons for not wanting them in their location.

It can be a stressful time and yet we really should be making it as easy as possible for traders on our casual pool because in many ways they are a very important part of our existence.
-        Variety and excitement are essential ingredients for attracting customers to our market and casuals provide those elements. They provide variety to our product mix and by moving around the market they create new intercepts for customers. In a market accused of having too much sameness, they are a great point of difference.
-        Retail innovation has to come from somewhere and, for QVM, the casual trader pool is one logical entry point. Markets around the world are seen as “business incubators” – places where small business entrepreneurship is allowed to develop and prosper. We have many examples at QVM where businesses have started off in our casual trader pool and gone into national and international fame.
-        Leave flexibility is important for traders. Unlike most other retail establishments, market traders get annual leave each year (8 weeks for PE licences and 4 weeks for SL licences). There are very good reasons why market traders need leave flexibility but it does impact on QVM rental returns. A strong pool of casual traders allows empty stalls to be filled and rental returns kept stable.

Casual traders make our market a better place. They add variety and excitement and they are an essential ingredient in growing retailing through innovation. Many casual traders will come and many will fail. Along the way they need a "fair go".Our role as established traders is to support and foster their time here. So the next time you have a casual trader setting up next to you, offer your support and friendship, be prepared to give advice if asked, and recognise that they actually help our bottom line. Casual traders are worth their weight in gold.

Have You Say - click here

23/09/2013 12:55:11 Casual Traders "Casual traders keep the market interesting  with new items appearing  rather than same and boring lines which   shoppers lose interest in after awhile  also the market works better when full.  With empty spaces  the market looks dull and  customers lose interest and go elsewhere" JR

Sculpture or Plumbing in F Shed

The “milk bottle” sculptures suspended above the F shed lane way have generally been received favourably but one of our traders has an interesting explanation for their existence.

This trader was overheard explaining to a quizzical customer that the bottles were in fact part of the market plumbing system. The trader went on to explain that there was a hole in the roof but staff had been unable to find its exact location so had placed multiple bottles under the roof to catch the drips.

Apparently that explanation was good enough for our customer who walked away quite impressed by this plumbing innovation.  We do have some “wags” amongst our traders.

Why Enforcement Is A Poor Model For QVM - We Are Not A Shopping Centre.

Enforcement is a term often used at QVM when describing trader/management relations. And it goes beyond the often criticised prevalence of management staff with previous work history in security. For some reason traders are regarded as an element that needs to be controlled when in fact freedom is an essential ingredient for attracting and keeping the traders who will make QVM successful in the future.

Let’s make it clear that this article is not against enforcement in itself. Setting standards of behaviour that enhance the retail environment is essential. But regulating to advantage one side, while disadvantaging the other, requires careful assessment and re-evaluation as conditions change. 

The shift from PE licences to SL licences (in many ways a retail lease) is part of an attempt to formalise or control the environment in which traders operate at QVM. Let us just pause to understand the difference between PE and SL licences. PE licences are the old licences that have operated for many years at QVM and are often called Daily Licences although it is understood that they carry common law rights, including succession, which have longer term implications. SL licences involve a signed legal document while PE licences do not. SL licences are a comparatively recent development and were originally called Transferable Licences which gives a clue to their main attraction at the time of introduction. You cannot sell a PE licence, but you can sell an SL licence. That is where the advantage ends because it is generally conceded that SL licences are part of an enforcement model that disadvantages traders. 

Our previous CEO often said that QVM was not a shopping centre but attempts to shift traders from PE licences to SL licences suggested otherwise. And from a corporate managers point of view, that shift is understandable. Corporations seek a high level of predictability. Accurate budgeting demands that fluctuations are minimised so a property management company would prefer an SL licence model that restricts leave to 4 weeks per year (8 weeks for PE traders) and doesn't allow single day absences (PE traders get single day absences). That model is easier to maintain, and probably, less leave is taken although the impact on rental returns of the 8 weeks leave model probably depends on the available pool of casual traders.

But for traders, flexibility and adaptability are essential ingredients for doing business. Most of the businesses at QVM are accurately described as fragile and modest. Most of us are single person or family businesses that not only have to adapt to the changing requirements of consumer demand but adopt a bewildering array of multi-tasking activities just to stay afloat. And if we are new retailers that flexibility is even more important.

The core of our businesses is individuality with a big dose of entrepreneurship. History shows us that traders with a big personality, a commitment to their product, a dedication to the customer, and a willingness to devote an unreasonable amount of time to their business, will succeed.

That individuality generates a fair share of rebels but that is simply one of the prices you pay for a successful public retail market. To a Property Manager, 8 weeks leave is excessive and the disruption caused by single day absences is difficult. To a Market Trader, a flexible 8 weeks leave is essential to maintain sanity in a demanding manic business world that requires sacrifices not just for business but for family life as well.

SL licences are a poorly conceived part of trader/management relations at QVM. They are an enforcement model that attempts to curtail the flexibility that is essential for survival in a public retail market. In addition they allow operators who don't have the aforementioned entrepreneurial qualities to simply buy into the market and lower the standard (not always the case of course). For newcomers a restrictive licence is particularly undesirable. We can wonder how many of today’s traders who started with a new untried retail concept would have taken the chance if they had been required to sign a licence, even a short term one. It is claimed that licences are a legal document and cannot be easily changed. Try telling that to your insurance company when they announce global changes to legal insurance policies. 

Would this argument be different if traders were in a healthy retail environment and easily able to sell their businesses for a good price? – it probably would. Obviously the trade off for punitive licence conditions versus the ability to sell your business was presented as a good deal back in the 90’s. But that healthy retail environment hasn’t existed for a while and only the most optimistic see a return soon. 

Enforcement is simply not the answer to our market's future. Establishing a flexible trading environment that recognises the needs of all parties and encourages newcomers is the answer. Let’s foster an environment that supports commitment, individuality, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Essentially, that is what QVM customers come to see.

23/09/2013 07:57:45 Contracts "We have been in the market 13 years now and have never taken one week off let alone 4 or 8 weeks. We may be under a different model because we have a shop rather than a stall and have signed a lease, but we still run a retail business that requires entrepreneurship, sales experience and customer service skills. What's the difference?  If we were to take extended leave we would put a manager in. If we were to sell, the bottom line is whether the business is viable and whether we can find the right buyer, not what type of contract we have with the market.  If QVM was run more like a shopping centre maybe we would not have so many empty stalls now, especially A shed on Sundays which is a ridiculous situation. The problem is also that some stall holders run their sites with absolutely no concern for others whatsoever, a stricter contract may help this situation."  Jodi

Friday 20 September 2013

Online or Bricks'n'Mortar - Part II

A couple of weeks ago we wrote an article saying that Bricks'n'Mortar and online were incompatible and this week we are writing an article suggesting you do both. Let us explain.

Bricks'n'Mortar and online are indeed different animals and trying to excel at both is probably a recipe for disaster. They really do require different facilities to do really well. A pure online player needs cheap storage, guaranteed supply, efficient delivery systems and the ability to operate a high volume, low margin business. We firmly believe that traders at the Queen Victoria Market should concentrate on their best feature - retailing in a traditional market environment that provides an adventure for its customers. Customers love our iconic setting, they love the personal exchange between trader and customer, and they love being able to see, touch and feel the products they are buying.
However, as Dennis commented in our last article ( ), the same customer who comes to our market to buy goods is also likely at some stage to go online and buy. In fact, if you read of the huge uptake in shoppers using their mobiles to shop, that is becoming increasingly likely. It is all to do with convenience. You can't expect your customers to always wait until the next time they come to the market to shop, because now they can do shopping while waiting at a bus stop, or sitting in front of television at night and for many the mantra is "Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today".
The question is - Are you available for your customer when they decide to act rather than put off till tomorrow? Getting back to the Bricks'n'Mortar versus online dilemma - by all means give preference to your market stall and make sure you excel in the service you provide customers. But also having an online presence is probably a good idea. It doesn't have to be full-blown website with all the bells and whistles but at least it should give customers an easy way of contacting you when they decide they want to act. 
There are many ways of getting an online presence. Australia Post have recently partnered with SecurePay to provide an easily set up website for up to 20,000 products - That is probably worth checking out because the partners are experts in two key areas of online activity - payment and delivery. There are many other avenues to getting a website but, if you are not sure where to start, give Trader Representative Greg Smith a call on 0406 222 020.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Should We Ban Smoking At QVM?

Re-posted Article
05/09/2013 12:59:30 SMOKING "Is it time for management to ban smoking within the market. Is it not unhealthy, create bad smells, look bad for traders who smoke in their stall, and outdated for a shopping destination. We want to improve standards, revamp the market, .This issue needs to be looked at."
An increasingly common complaint from traders concerns smoking within the market. Like the above comment left on our website this week there is concern for the health of traders and the bad image that smoking generates with customers.
Our market is a semi-outdoor environment but with precedents set by places like the MCG it is becoming more common to ban smoking in any area where the public congregates. 
What do you think? Is it time we acted at QVM?

Have Your Say - click here.

06/09/2013 1030   "Smoking should be confined to designated areas of the market and banned from stalls for Health reasons." - Jillian

07/09/2013 21:39:30  Smoking  "I'm a smoker, but I agree it should be banned." Tony  

08/09/2013 20:02:19 Smoking "I've heard customer said "Is it still 19th century, they still smoke  in here" when they see trader smoking and they also just shake their head when they see trader smoke close to a bunch of school kids. It need to stop. If you need to smoke pls take a break and go to M shed, behind A shed or other boundaries. "  

09/09/2013 11:00:00 SMOKING "Should be banned very bad for health of not only smoker but others(Passive Smoking)   maybe set up designated smokers areas around market for those who cant kick the habbit  Why wasn' this done Years ago/ is it becasuse we are so far behind the times the market really needs to catch up. ITS 2013!" JR ESHED  

 09/09/2013 13:56:08 Smoking "Community thinking is simply against smoking. There is a community expectation that smoking will be restricted to certain areas so as not to impact on the health of the general community particularly the very young and the very old. Smoking in and around general trading areas is against community standards and should be banned. That applies to traders and the general public."

11/09/2013 09:52:48 Smoking QVM "Where is a smoker able to have a smoke? 
Not in restaurant 
Not in a bar
Not in a club
Not in public areas 
Not out side a restaurant 
We are going a little over board. Most people that smoke do there best to be mindful of there ADDICTION. 
So let's set up smoking areas. Just like we have setting areas. Will set up smoking  areas. We can have 10 people smoking at the same time.  Then we have a cloud of smoke. Next to who's stall? Or which part of the market? Where the public wont complain? Maybe we should send smokers to the park? Cos you can't play in them without councils public liability concerns. 
I'm not a smoker but the people that complain the most are reformed smokers. I don't agree with smoking but it's an   ADDICTION. One that government gets a large amount of taxes from. 
Cheers JM" JM
18/9/2013 Editors Note: City of Melbourne has announced a 6 months trial smoking ban in the city's Causeway Lane following a request from the Australian Medical Association.  

Sunday 15 September 2013

September Is A Bad Month For Business

I don't check my sales figures often enough because, if someone had asked me what business was like in September I would have thought football finals and Royal Melbourne Show equals plenty of tourists and good business.
But I would have been wrong. September is not a good month for market business as our graph shows. The graph has been compiled from the sales/budget returns we get from a select group of traders each week. It represents their sales as a percentage of their weekly budget and in September most traders fail to reach their budget. 
Those traders who are having a bad month can draw some satisfaction from knowing they are not alone. But why does this happen? Victorian tourism figures show that visitation by tourists in September is not much different to other months. We really need more investigation to find out why we get these fluctuations.

Have Your Say - click here.

Editorial: The Light At The End of the QVM Tunnel

Hope is a very powerful emotion and daring to hope that the fortunes of The Queen Victoria Market will turn around occupies the minds of many struggling stall holders, and certainly the minds of their Trader Representatives.
Over the last 15 years or so the decline in market fortunes has been obvious. Traders have accepted that the Global Financial Crisis has had a sudden and severe impact on global retailing. But underlying the QVM experience were trader claims of neglect, lack of accountability, and focussing on the wrong measures. Simple things like car parking that was slowly but surely diminishing and becoming more expensive, a marketing focus that neglected general merchandise, an unwillingness to measure actual sales in the market, lighting that in many parts of the market was sub-standard, traders not being heard as they attempted to highlight deficiencies, and the list goes on.

But there are signs that a questioning of past practices, and an interest in what traders have to say, is creating a new attitude at QVM. Let us give some examples – 

1. The Chairman’s announcement this week that Board members will attend QVM Advisory Committee meetings. This is a core issue that will give traders direct access to the key decision makers. We believe this is the first time traders have had that access.

2. Acknowledgement by City of Melbourne and QVM that measures of market performance have focused almost entirely on rent. Measuring wider market performance and linking marketing with sales results is now a focus.
3. Trader involvement in customer research. Management have arranged for Trader Representatives to brief internationally experienced market research companies on the content and process of new research to drive additional sales to QVM traders.
4. Engagement of professional Communication and Engagement expert, Jan Cochrane-Harry, to facilitate change and engage traders in a manner that has not been seen at QVM for a long time.

It is said that we should beware of the light at the end of the tunnel in case it is a train rushing towards us. We have no illusions about the tough road ahead for traders. We need to be vigilant and ensure that our collective voices and our interests are heard. Our new CEO will be critical to this process. But the initial signs are good, and new-found trader involvement and collaboration give reason for measured optimism.

Have Your Say - click here.

16/09/2013 11:31:25 light at the end of the tunnel "If we continue along the same vein nothing will change we need a complete Purge  from the ground up" AR    E Shed

Thanks for your input AR. I think the point of the article is that the vein has changed, but given past experience I understand your scepticism. Let's put it this way - the leadership shown from the top is encouraging and we will need to see how that translates on the ground. - Is that what you mean? - Ed.

19/09/2013 15:41:41 Leadership "No I mean leadership is only following previous examples on a pre -determined course and if it stays the same nothing will change" AR

OK - Understood. Leadership will need to change. The appointment of a new CEO is a great opportunity to achieve that. - Ed

Latest Retail News – 15/9/2013

Latest Retail News – 15/9/2013

1. Annualised savings rates by Australians rise from 9.5% to 9.8% in June quarter.
2. Australian tea retailer T2 sold to global consumer goods giant Unilever.
3. Ikea approaching $1billion in Australian retail sales.
4. Franchisees of household goods rental company Mobile Rentals banned by ASIC for breaching consumer credit laws.
5. Adelaide clothing retailer, Trims, bought by un-disclosed buyer.
6. Pepe Jeans plans big expansion in SE Asia.
7. Dan Murphy awarded the Best Online Retail Marketing Initiative at the Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAs) in August for its digital media presence.
8. New business, Airspaced, launched to link retailers with increasing number of short term and pop-up shop opportunities.
9. Gelatissimo launches two new gelato bar concepts including gelato sundaes.
10. Fusion Retail Group has sold its newly revamped Jag brand to fellow multi-brand fashion retailer, Apparel Group.
11. Italian luxury house, Dolce & Gabbana, has opened its first ever Australian store on Melbourne’s Collins St.
12. Deloitte’s say new majority government and rise in house prices will be key to retail recovery.
13. US department store chain, Neiman Marcus, has been sold to private equity for the sum of US$6 billion.
14. Tesco sells its US Fresh ‘n’ Easy chain.
15. QVMAC research finds that new retail floorspace equivalent to the size of the Queen Victoria Market was added to Melbourne’s CBD every year between 2002-2008.
16. The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment has increased by 4.7 per cent from 105.7 in August to 110.6 in September following election.
17. Myer takes full control of fashion label Sass & Bide.
18. New owners of Dick Smith’s prepare to on sell.
19. David Jones opens new village format store at Malvern.
20. Melbourne’s laneway, Causeway Lane, to trial 6 months smoking ban.
21. Hong Kong based fashion company, Esprit, posts loss for 12 months to June.
22. McDonalds asia-pacific regional comparable sales fall in August.
23. Queen Victoria Market valued at $80.8m, slightly less than Melbourne Town Hall.

Friday 13 September 2013

Newsflash: QVM Chairman Approves Traders Link With Board

Ask QVM traders what is important to them as the market moves forward and you can be confident that “having a say in our future” will feature prominently. One of the core issues for QVM traders has been establishing direct access with the QVM Board and being able to put views and arguments direct to the people who make key decisions about our future.

We are pleased to advise that this week The Chairman approved Board Member attendance at QVM Advisory Committee meetings. This means that your elected Trader Representatives will be presenting advice direct to Board Members at each of the formal QVMAC meetings. Trader Representatives have already been invited to present at two board meetings annually.

We believe this is the first occasion in the markets recent history that traders have been able to formalise Board access and we believe it bodes well for a collaborative and productive relationship going forward.

Transport Hub for QVM

Let us say upfront that this is not an official proposal for a Transport Hub at QVM but it comes from a trader in the deli hall and it certainly sounds like an idea worth looking at.
The proposal was made at a meeting of deli traders on Thursday. The trader suggested that if Transport Hubs were such an important component of many large shopping centres, why couldn’t it be a part of one of the world’s largest markets? A drop-off terminal could be created for city, near-city, and regional buses, linking with existing tram services, and create an instant customer source. Where would we put it? Well, if an alternative car park is to be created for QVM and the current car park area made into a mall (already proposed in the press), perhaps a Transport Hub could be located adjacent to the mall.

Like we said – worth considering.

Rosalie’s Celebrity Customer

 Rosalie treats all her customers with respect and is very helpful in advising them, not only about her range of gift wrapping but on any matter that will help them through their day. But it is fair to say that the charismatic celebrity chef Miguel Maestre, co-host of Channel Ten’s The Living Room, received more than the usual attention from Rosalie when she bumped into him at the market recently.

Just to show she shares herself around we have also included a photo of Rosalie with one of her “not quite so famous” but none-the-less important customers. 

Trader Comments On CEO Selection

The following comment was received this week and like 99% of comments we are happy to print the content. Whilst we share the frustration that is at the core of this comment, and commend the passion clearly evidenced in the sentiments expressed, we feel that there are some inaccuracies that need to be addressed.

COMMENT: 10/09/2013 13:27:11 Management/Board Of Directors "AS most would know by now the Queen Victoria Market is looking for a new CEO.What worries me is that the same board that has been in place for a while, the same ones that have allowed the market to deteriorate to the state that it is in now, the ones that have allowed management both current and previous ones to run amok, are responsible for electing another CEO. In most corporations shareholders have a say and more importantly share prices play an important role in decisions. The traders at the QVM, being the asset of the business,which the Lord Mayor and many others keep drumming into us, have never had an influence in who is to run the market. IS IT TIME TO CHANGE THIS..Possibly we need an extraordinary public meeting to discuss."  

So let us take out some emotion out of what is often a very emotive conversation and list some cold hard facts and statistics about the current board. We feel this is in the spirit of giving everyone a "fair go".

There are 8 Directors on the QVM Board. The comment suggests that the same Board has been in place for a while. In fact this is a new Board. The Chairman, Paul Guerra, was appointed in November 2011, and 4 new members (Jane Fenton, Yvonne Von Hartel, David Mann, and Paul Sheahan) were appointed as recently as July 2012.

With regard to who has a say in the appointment of a CEO, your editor is no expert on corporate history, but it seems unlikely that shareholders get to choose the CEO. Sure, shareholders with a seat on the Board can influence selection and a number of corporations allow shareholders to comment on the CEO’s pay.

In the case of QVM, your Trader Representatives did get the opportunity to voice their views to The Chairman on the sorts of qualities that they felt were desirable in a CEO running one of the world’s premier markets. We felt that excellence in many areas was important and that core retail experience was certainly in the mix. It remains to be seen whether the best applicant has that experience.

We hope the poster of this comment doesn’t feel we have been too critical of his/her rational. We encourage speaking out and would like to know what you think.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Trader’s Son Needs Experimental Cancer Drug

UPDATE 10/09/2013  1110 - The target of 150,000 signatures has been reached. Support is now heading for 200,000. If you haven't already signed just follow the link below - Ed

Peter & Kay Auden’s son, Nick, is in a very public battle with stage 4 Melanoma. Nick has received support from celebrities like Ricky Gervais, recently featured in a front page article in Melbourne’s Age newspaper and has a dedicated website – Our picture shows Nick's son Locky.

Nick and his family are seeking access to an experimental drug that it is hoped will improve his chances of beating cancer. The drug has been denied so far due to its experimental nature but it is believed that sufficient pressure on the drug company may succeed in Nick gaining access on compassionate grounds. An online petition had 125,000 signatures at the time of writing this article.

The market community can add their support to the Auden family by going to and clicking on the “Sign the petition” button.

Monday 9 September 2013

Will Smart Watches Make QVM Traders Better Retailers?

Smart watches are coming. It is often said that the fashion world has a repeat cycle. If you wait long enough the trends of recent history will come back and, if Apple and Samsung have their way, wearing a watch will become common again. Will this change the practice of some Queen Victoria Market traders who spend a large part of their day looking at their phones?

Of course these are not just time-keeping watches they are mini mobile phones on your wrist and they will tell you who is calling, texting, or emailing you, what the weather is going to be, and what is happening on social media. 
With a glance at their wrist, traders will be able to get the latest share price variation as they monitor their investments or perhaps just get the winner of the last race at Flemington. And they won't have to take their phone out of their pocket to check any of these things. Mobile phones are often seen as an un-professional distraction for traders who should be concentrating on their customers. Smart watches will be less obvious but probably still a distraction.

Perhaps the answer for traders lies in the new Google Glasses product which is basically a computer, and a mobile phone, in the form of reading glasses. With these computer glasses you will be able to look like you are watching your stall, perhaps even looking directly at customers, but secretly your attention is focused on the mini screen in front of your eyes and all the information it can give you.

This article has been a light-hearted look at new technology and how it might influence our engagement with customers. But it masks a serious problem, and that is that any distraction from our core purpose as traders is not good. We are there to give our customers the best possible service. Personal customer attention is our big advantage over impersonal department stores and even more impersonal online retailing. Looking at your phone all day doesn't help that process.

Of course mobile phones do have a role to play in giving good service. This is the technological age after all. We encourage our customers to telephone or email us and we engage on social media. If smart watches allow us to concentrate more on those functions and less on things like idle web browsing or playing games then they could be a useful new tool. Only time will tell (pun intended).

PS - To all those traders who are looking for an excuse to buy a new gadget - you can thank me later. - Ed.