Saturday 28 February 2015

Renewal Engagement Sessions For Traders

The release of the Draft Master Plan has kick started the third round of community engagement and traders have been given specific sessions during which the Plan will be presented and explained by QVM. The session times are listed below.

To ensure the process goes smoothly, traders are being asked to book in advance through one of the following methods –
-        Customer Service at the main office (rear 513 Elizabeth St).
-        Customer Service at Shop 1 in F Shed.
-        At the Engagement Hub 452 Queen St (open from Monday 2nd March)
-        Email Targol directly:

Trader sessions:
  • Dairy Hall traders, 10am to 12pm, Wednesday, 4 March
  • General Merchandise traders, 2.30 to 4.30pm, Thursday, 5 March
  • Night Market traders, 2pm to 4pm, Tuesday, 10 March
  • Meat and Fish Hall traders, 10am to 12pm, Wednesday, 11 March
  • General Merchandise traders, 2 to 4pm, Monday, 16 March
  • General Merchandise traders, 2 to 4pm, Tuesday, 17 March
  • Fruit & Vegetable traders, 10am to 12pm, Wednesday, 19 March
  • Food & Hospitality traders, 2 to 4pm, Wednesday, 19 March

The Community Engagement Hub on Queen St (near Mercat Cross Hotel) will be open for drop in visits right up until Sunday 29th March. 

How Traders Can Engage On Renewal

The renewal of QVM is being heralded as the biggest single project in Melbourne’s history and for the traders who earn their living at the market it has even more significance. 

There are a number of different ways that traders can be informed on the renewal process, particularly the Draft Master Plan, and how it might affect them.
1. Download the Draft Master Plan document by clicking on one of the entries below.
          a. - PDF document.
          b. - Word document.
There is also a Strategic Brief compiled by QVM which informed the Draft Master Plan. It has a lot more detail and is available here -

2. Visit the engagement centre at 452 Queens St. near the Mercat Cross Hotel. This centre will be open from Monday 2nd March and specific sessions will be held for traders – see article above.

3. Trader Representatives have hired Shop 1 in F shed for traders to visit after market trading on Tuesday 3rd March and Thursday 5th March (2:00pm until 4:00pm both days). We will have copies of the Draft Master Plan on display and hope to have hard copies for handout from Tuesday.

Traders who wish to make comment can visit the engagement centre at 452 Queen St. and ask to have their views recorded or comment on this website and we will make sure all published views and comments are passed on.

Have Your Say – click here.

Seven Day Trading – The Real Story

The QVM Draft Master Plan has created huge media interest and, as often happens in the media, there has been a focus on just one issue in a very complex project. On this occasion it is extended trading hours and that focus has concerned many traders.

Firstly, let's identify the issue. Will the Queen Victoria Market be open 7 days? - Yes. Will all traders be required to operate 7 days - No. And that has been confirmed in a number of discussions with management. Small businesses (many are family operated) will continue to have choices. Choices on trading days, trading hours, and types of stall setup.

Some traders, including some family businesses may choose to operate 7 days to maximise their turnover. Extended trading in cafes and restaurants is common. However, there are businesses, particularly artisan type or manufacturing businesses that can only physically retail on days when they are not manufacturing. A market that caters to such a huge variety of small business types needs flexible trading arrangements.

On the other hand this market needs to be available to its customers when they choose to shop. The problem then becomes how we create an offer at all times while allowing flexibility for traders. It is achievable, and really comes down to professional scheduling and management. The night markets already achieve part of that intent by offering more diverse shopping hours for customers without obligating every current trader to participate. Traders will demand a big say on how extended trading will operate and this is just one more reason why traders should read the Draft Master Plan and actively contribute to the current consultation process.

Thursday 26 February 2015

Draft Master Plan Downloadable Here

Here are the links to the Master Plan documentation. There are two documents - firstly the Draft Master Plan compiled by CoM, and secondly QVM's Strategic Brief that informed the Master Plan.
Traders may need to take a deep breath to absorb all the details. We hope to have hard copies available for traders without access to the downloads by early next week. - Draft Master Plan in PDF format. - Draft Master Plan in Word format. - Strategic Brief in Word format.

Have Your Say - click here.

Final Briefing For Fruit & Vegetable Traders On Epping Move

Footscray wholesale market management will be attending QVM this Friday 27th February for their final briefing and discussion on the implications of the relocation from Footscray to Epping.

They will be in attendance at Shop 1 in F Shed from 8:00am to 11:00am so that interested traders can get assistance with the move and detail like security passes, parking permits, and induction programs.

More Tupperware Delegates To Visit QVM

A second wave of Indonesian Tupperware Delegates will be visiting our market on Tuesday 10th and Thursday 12th March. They will be in attendance at the market for approximately 1.5 – 2 hours as follows –

Tuesday 10th March – 24 buses  (966 delegates)
8.30am  - 6 buses
9.15am - 18 buses

Thursday 12th March – 13 buses (509 delegates)
8.15am - 4 buses
9.15am - 6 buses
11.30am - 3 buses

To accommodate the large numbers arriving onsite, the buses will again arrive and depart from the main QVM car park. The group will be welcomed by a P.A announcement and signage will be in place to not only welcome delegates to QVM but to also direct them back to the pick-up zone in the car park.

Traders may need to adjust their set-up times to make sure they are ready for the early arrival of delegates.

Draft Master Plan Released This Morning

The QVM Draft Master Plan is about to be released by the City of Melbourne (Thursday morning) with media outlets taking up the news and, initially at least, concentrating on 7 day trading possibilities.
The Melbourne Age and Herald-Sun have articles this morning and they both talk about day and night trading opportunities and how the market can better serve its customers across a broader spread of hours.
We can expect the Draft master Plan to be available for web download soon and traders will be able to access a link on Victraders as soon as it becomes available. (see below)
Trader Representatives are currently looking at other ways to inform traders about the content of the Plan including an after-market information session in Shop 1, F shed on Tuesday and Thursday next week between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. Trader Representatives will be in attendance to talk direct with traders.

Here are the links to the Master Plan documentation. There are two documents - firstly the Draft Master Plan compiled by CoM, and secondly the Strategic Brief compiled by QVM. - Draft Master Plan in PDF format. - Draft Master Plan in Word format. - Strategic Brief in Word format.

26/02/2015 13:10:18 Renewal "Here we go again. The same old BS in a new cover. When will both management and CoM come to their senses and realize that the market is about people, traders and customers alike. This dressed up version is the original proposal with garnish to make it more palatable.It is no wonder that traders distrust management when we are fed on BS and kept in the dark. The final draft is now complete and has been provided to the City of Melbourne etc etc to quote a document I received Tuesday week ago. A meeting was held THIS Wednesday masquerading as consultation but was nothing more than an information session as the horse had bolted. I did not attend due to other commitments but this is not the way to gain favor.
Karl. ADK" Karl ADK  

26/02/2015 19:36:44 Karls comment on renewal "Sorry Karl - but you probably shouldn't have put "kept in the dark" and "I did not attend the meeting due to other commitments" in the same sentence. You need to make an effort to see the light."

27/02/2015 23:07:54 Market renewal, Karls comments. "I appreciate your view on seeing the light, the market is our lively hood and yes there are many things that the market needs to upgrade. I am not against change but not for simply changes sake. We have traded in the market for 65 years and have seen many changes, some good some not so good. Traders are the life blood of the market and work very hard for their living and should be respected. We need urgent repairs to existing infrastructure rather than a realignment of Franklin street, our current car park, although inadequate does not need to be turned into a park etc. My light is priorities for the benefit of traders and our customers. Looking forward to a bright future." Karl ADK

Monday 23 February 2015

Latest Retail News - 22/2/2015

Latest Retail News - 22/2/2015

1. Walmart beats expectations for 4th quarter.
2. Mexican food chain, Zambrero, plans 150 stores by end 2015.
3. Coles first half sales up by 7%.
4. Choice calls for detailed country of origin labelling following frozen berry scare.
5. Super Retail Group halves first half profit as it re-structures.
6. Westfield credits online mall with $343m sales in first year.
7. Victorian Government plan to increase public holidays criticised by retailers.
8. Coles axes 200 head office jobs.
9. Reject Shop profit drops in first half due poor July/August.
10. JeansWest in copyright battle over G-Star Raw's biker jeans.
11. Quicksilver opens new store/cafe concept called Boardriders.
12. Luxury menswear retailer, Harrolds, introduces womenswear range.
13. Ritchies says refurbished stores enjoy 120% sales increase.
14. Coca Cola first half earnings flat.
15. Patties share price plunge following frozen berry contamination.
16. McDonalds criticised for offering school rebates on student purchases.
17. Dick Smith predicts 10% boost in full year sales.
18. First half loss for PAC Brands following poor earnings in underwear division.
19. Agent Provocateur opens 100th worldwide store in Australia.
20. National Retail Association demands national standards on shop leases.
21. Tesco plans up to 10,000 job losses as it attempts to reverse profit decline.

Saturday 21 February 2015

Keeping The Theatre In Our Fish Hall

As renewal planning gets into gear, planners are testing ideas and engaging in discussions with traders on what might be possible and what might not  be possible. This is all part of the consultation process and designed to get the best possible outcome out of a range of options.

One such example concerns the processing of fish within the shops of our fish hall. In some cases fish waste is carried through the Deli Hall and this has understandably drawn criticism. But the solution is not easy with our current fish shop configuration. For many of the shops, their only exit is into the Deli Hall.

One proposal is that filleting and processing would be done in a separate area away from the shops. That would keep the waste away from public view but it could also remove one of the key bits of theatre in our fish hall where customers select a fish and have it filleted on the spot. A little idiosyncrasy associated with that practice is that filleting is done in full view of the customer. It is a tradition that goes back to the old days when an unscrupulous fishmonger might have swapped the fish in a back room. Obviously, taking the fish away for filleting would be unacceptable to many customers.

This is just one of the many issues that will arise as renewal possibilities are discussed and explored. Genuine consultation with traders and a global view of customer wishes, operational requirements, profitability, and a big dose of retail common sense will find an answer to most of them. We will keep an eye on this one.

Friday 20 February 2015

QVM Seeking Applications For Extended Winter Night Market

Expressions of interest for the Winter Night Market have just gone live on the QVM website. -

The 2015 season has been extended to 13 weeks and it is hoped that interested day traders might apply. Both permanent and casual spaces are available. The Therry Street Market exposed night market trading to a few more traders and, for many, the results were positive.

The market will run on Wednesday nights from June 3rd to August 26th.

21/02/2015 19:30:44 Winter night market "I am a day market trader and I have considered trading at both the winter and summer night market, but at $990 a night for a food stall they are kidding themselves."

QVM's Dragon At Night - Wow!

Our photos were actually taken at 6:30 in the morning but the effect is still quite dramatic. In fact our staff photographer had to jostle in between 4 or 5 other people who were also taking photos. Worth a look if you get in to the market early enough.

Have Your Say - click here.

Staffing Levels At QVM

Some traders have noticed a recent influx of staff, consultants, and advisers at QVM and have raised questions of how many people we need to run our market so it might be appropriate to look more closely at the issue.

As an example, the following comment was received on the Have Your Say facility on this website during the week -
“Is there anyone else in the market that finds it strange, that while the amount of permanent stall holders are on a serious decline and more empty stalls are popping up especially during the week, that the quantity of people in Q.V.M management has been steadily increasing. Are they getting ready for something we don't know about? I am not really 100% certain, however with a business turning over roughly $20-$25 million a year. isn't it a little over managed?”

We are wondering whether this trader is confusing QVM Renewal staff with QVM Management staff and we suspect that the involvement of those two groups will become a little blurred at times. We have of course commenced a $250m market renewal which will be the subject of a Master Plan with a first draft due next month. That Master Plan will set the agenda for QVM possibly for the next 100 years, and will involve consultation with all groups connected with our market and the evaluation of some pretty serious projects.

By way of explanation, it is a little bit like making a decision as a trader to go online with a website. If you have significant technical expertise you may decide to do it yourself but you are more likely to engage outside experts to assist. That is what is happening here. A renewal project goes way beyond day to day running of a market. It will include significant architectural and planning components. Much of that work would be expected to be done by the owners, City of Melbourne, but with this renewal there has been a deliberate attempt to bring more work and therefore more people closer to QVM. That is why the project office is located on Queen St. For traders that has to be a good thing. The closer we are to planning and decision making through bodies like the QVMAC, the better informed we become.

It may be useful to draw a comparison between QVM and some of the other City of Melbourne operations. Staff numbers are not normally published and we don’t know exactly how many people work at QVM but we are led to believe that it numbers around 60. We understand that the staffing numbers for the State Government's Federation Square, for instance, exceeds 80. Which of those two entities is likely to be more complex to manage?

It is right for traders to question the operation of our market. After all, we earn our living from it. But let’s not lose sight of the real issue here which is making our market better and more profitable for traders in the longer term. Market renewal will be a key component. Engaging experts to assist in that process, and making sure it is done properly, would seem to be a smart thing to do.

23/02/2015 15:57:09 QVM staff levels "It would be interesting to compare staffing numbers against that of the previous Management (renewal staff excluded ).Considering many people believe all the energy is going towards the renewal program and that the day to day Market & business hasn't changed much."

Why Traders Should Divulge Their Sales Figures

Imagine you are a premier sporting body like the AFL but you don't keep track of team scores. You measure crowd numbers because that is a primary source of income. But how your teams are going, which are the weak, which are the strong, how they perform on the field, and the state of their finances doesn't really get measured. As ridiculous as that might sound, it is pretty much what goes on at QVM.

Measuring what we do at QVM is essential to our success as traders. The retail world is cut-throat, margins are shrinking, and it is small percentages that count if we are to control our future. Successful decisions require good information and yet a critical piece of information is usually missing when decisions are made at QVM. That missing information is trader sales.

Traders of course have the ability to track their own performance although there are many different ways of doing it. After a particularly strong trading weekend I asked one trader how he had performed and he said "terribly". It turned out that he measured his sales performance by the number of bills still sitting on his desk at the end of the week. I am sure he was half joking but we do need to be a bit more sophisticated than that in measuring our sales performance. 

One area where the measuring of sales is critical is when we evaluate the performance of events or marketing programs. QVM can measure crowd numbers and customer feedback data but in a retail environment it is all about getting sales. Knowing the level of sales and the variation between different market segments tells us a lot about events and promotions and how to fine tune them for maximum impact.

Another area where sales data would be very useful is in rent discussions. That is of course a double edged sword but over recent years our cries of "we can't afford to pay more rent" pretty much fall on deaf ears because we are not prepared to back up our claims with real data.

Retail giants like Westfield would not think of making key decisions about things like product mix and promotional campaigns without knowing sales data. The health of their retailers is critical to the health of their property investments. At QVM, neither traders nor management show much interest in giving or gathering sales data and that really needs to be corrected.

Tuesday 17 February 2015

QVM’s Dragon Arrives

Chinese New Year celebrations kick off from Thursday 19th February and QVM’s very own 15 metre long dragon has taken up residence on Queen St.

A lantern display has been installed in the Food Court and there will be free lion and dragon performances roaming through the market for approximately 20 minutes each on Thursday 19th February from 11:00am, Saturday 21st from 1:00pm, and Wednesday 25th for the Night Market from 7:00pm.

QVM celebrations will be supported by media advertising including Chinese media outlets, mainstream radio (Fox FM, Kiss FM, and 3AW), newspapers (Herald-Sun and Australian Chinese News) and various tourism publications and websites.

17/02/2015 13:19:48 Re the dragon "Go the dragon! He looks Fantastic!"

19/02/2015 10:51:48 Dragon "It's a fantastic idea. Good on you with these sorts of excellent  actions to expose us to the media."

22/02/2015 11:26:44 Chinese New Year!!!!!??? Luna New Year please (Vietnamese do celebrate their New Year at the same time)
Yes - Mainstream media refers to Chinese New Year but we take your point. We understand that countries including China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam celebrate Lunar New Year at the same time with a number of other Asian countries using different dates for their celebrations. At QVM we probably should use the term "Lunar" - Ed.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Traders Consider Permanent Stalls Like Therry St. Market.

This week's Trader Focus Group meetings considered a number of proposals including the option of permanent stalls under the upper sheds.

The stalls in the Therry St. temporary market late last year remained set-up over the 10 days or so of the market. Traders were able to construct a more professional level of merchandising and of course they saved a considerable amount of time and effort by avoiding set up and pack up each day. During the recent one to one trader consultations a number of traders raised permanent stalls as a desirable option for the future. 

At the Trader Focus Group meeting this writer attended there was substantial support for a trial of permanent or semi-permanent stall set-ups under the sheds in aisles C, D, or E. There are many issues to be considered in such a trial including maintaining the essence of a market and avoiding the look of a shopping centre. It was considered that the Therry St. Market model would probably achieve the desired result. A market like QVM will always need the flexibility of different types of stall structures. A combination of permanent stalls, set-up and pack-up stalls, containers, and shops are all likely ingredients.

Renewal could potentially bring with it substantial change and trialling these sorts of concepts is an essential element if "modest and fragile" small business are to feel comfortable with the process. 

16/02/2015 12:48:35 PERMANENT STALLS "Has anyone seriously thought this idea through" Alby E Shed

16/02/2015 -  Welcome your views Alby - Ed

Saturday 14 February 2015

Report Criticises Apartment Density Around QVM

There have been a number of reports in Melbourne's press this week concerning "hyper-dense" apartment towers that were destined to make Melbourne CBD denser than Hong Kong, New York, and Tokyo. Our graphic shows new residential tower development around Elizabeth and Latrobe Streets as at December 2014.

A report by Leanne Hodyl, a co-ordinator of city plans and policy at City of Melbourne, has been very critical of the number of apartments being built and the impact on the streets around them. - "It will create a legacy that lack access to light, air ... and that diminish the quality of the streets and parks below," the report says. New and proposed apartment towers close to the market have been identified as falling in to this category.

Media reports suggest that the Victorian State Government needs to set stricter standards controlling the size of apartments, their density, and the open spaces and other facilities necessary to maintain quality living standards in Melbourne.

Perhaps this push for more space helps explain the CoM preference for replacing the current QVM car park with park-like open space in its market renewal proposals.

Have Your Say - click here.

QVM Marketing Saves Trader

As a humble QVM Trader, remembering occasions like Valentines's Day is not my strong point particularly when they fall on a normal trading day (us committed business males always have an excuse).

But QVM marketing staff came to the rescue today with a high profile handout of delicious chocolate coated strawberries and silk roses, which were presented to various customers and traders as they walked the aisles. They were accompanied by a professional crooner who added a wonderful dose of romance to the occasion.

My wife didn't quite believe that I had organised the visit to my stall just for her but, the mood had been set, and I think I have been forgiven for another year at least. Well done to all involved!

15/02/2015 23:41:01 Valentines Day "None of us up on Peel st saw these guys. It would've been a nice surprise especially as I'm single."  Leah
23/02/2015 16:24:18 valentines day "We didn't see them up D shed either "

More On Tupperware Conference.

The visit of around 3,000 Tupperware delegates from Indonesia has impacted on our market this week. We were informed by one participant that the trip to Melbourne was free for and this made it easier for delegates to find money for shopping while they were here.

Traders reported that many delegates struck a hard bargain on price but were big consumers on T-shirts and confectionary. Other categories also received a boost with at least one higher end leather goods trader having to organise extra staff at the last minute to handle demand. Many traders reported a buzz around the market while the delegates were here and said they felt that helped with sales to their traditional customers.

Our photos might provide tips for other traders when the next conference comes around. We particularly refer to signs targeting conference delegates in their own language and monogrammed carry bags promoting individual traders.

Have Your Say – click here.

Thursday 12 February 2015

Traders Comments - 12/2/2015

10/02/2015 20:19:43 Tupperware . "It was great to see the colourful delegates flood the Market , all smiles, and greetings . Simply fantastic.. we made cards, in pahasa indonesian to welcome them, and greeted them with salamat pagi....
unfortunately our products  , were not on their list of things .but we did make a few good sales... BUt good luck to the t shirt and souvenir sellers, they made a very good trading day. 
Looking forward to thursday, maybe the ones who bought and liked my products , would show their friends, and maybe come for more. But it was a great day to see them all.. well done all those Involved, so well organised too from our Market too, with signs, etc. If i may suggest  perhaps we could get some one to greet them over the P.A. in their language , when they come ." Andy

12/02/2015 17:43:59 Miss U "Miss you Dad" -  Daniel

Good News On Consumer Confidence

Westpac’s consumer confidence has risen above 100 in February meaning there are more optimists than pessimists. This is the first time since February last year that the index has risen above 100.

The survey was conducted in the week of Liberal leadership instability with Westpac concerned the uncertainty might lead to a fall in confidence but apparently the concern of Liberal voters was far outweighed by the confidence amongst ALP supporters.

Other factors said to have an influence were the official interest rate cut, the fall in petrol prices, and a surging share market.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Conference Delegates Arrive

Queen Victoria Market Welcomes delegates.
The first significant arrival of delegates from the Tupperware Conference being held in Melbourne were welcomed into our market today. Visits will continue through the week as part of a collaboration between conference organisers and QVM. 
Here are some photos taken before lunch. The delegates are likely to provide a boost particularly for our souvenir traders. What is your experience? We welcome feedback from traders through our Have Your Say facility below.

Have Your Say - click here.
10/02/2015 20:19:43 tupperware . "It was great to see the colourful delegates flood the Market , all smiles, and greetings . Simply fantastic.. we made cards, in pahasa indonesian to welcome them, and greeted them with salamat pagi....
unfortunately our products  , were not on their list of things .but we did make a few good sales... But good luck to the t shirt and souvenir sellers, they made a very good trading day. 
Looking forward to thursday, maybe the ones who bought and liked my products , would show their friends, and maybe come for more. But it was a great day to see them all.. well done all those Involved, so well organised too from our Market too, with signs, etc. If i may suggest  perhaps we could get some one to greet them over the P.A. in their language , when they come ." Andy 

Saturday 7 February 2015

It Pays To Speak Up

Following our article on renewal last week - - the following exchange was published on this website.

02/02/2015 13:02:57How were the extra reps chosen? I am a concerned and passionate market trader, but I have never been approached. Your call please editor."
04/02/2015 20:39 “Speak with your Trader Representative or give me a call on 0406 222 020 and I will explain what is involved. I am confident we can fit in an extra participant. - Ed.

That trader contacted their Trader Representative and have now been included in the consultation session next Tuesday. We don’t want to start a last minute avalanche of trader requests because the groups have now been finalised, but the point is that speaking up and contacting your Representative is good advice if you have something to say.

And, just for the record, participants in the consultation groups were selected across various trader categories. The QVMAC was looking for traders who could express opinions on market matters, had the capacity to consider all QVM participants, and, most importantly, could offer real solutions for the future of our market. 

Master Plan Gets Closer

The City of Melbourne’s Draft Master Plan for QVM is scheduled for release in March 2015. In the meantime QVM is conducting consultation sessions with traders as part of its Strategic Brief Document which relates to the Master Plan.

Consultation sessions started this week with the Deli Hall traders. Specialty Traders (General Merchandise) will be the subject of two sessions next Monday and Tuesday. Each Specialty group will comprise 12 or so traders who have been selected across various sub-categories including fashion, accessories, souvenirs, footwear etc.

These groups will be asked to consider and comment on how QVM may best address its customers over coming decades. It will consider the format of the upper market including back of house facilities, the use of vehicles and boxes, stall structures, trading hours and so on. Within a few weeks there will be a forum at which individual traders can express their views and make recommendations. As the discussions progress we will be able to form views on possible directions for QVM, how far those options will improve trader's operations, what impact they are likely to have on sales, whether changes need to be made, and what issues need further examination.

We expect to have information available on this website as the discussions progress.

Interesting Retail Stories This Week

Interesting Retail Stories This Week

1. Retail bodies are optimistic that this week’s Reserve Bank interest rate cut will assist consumer confidence.

2. G-Star Raw goes into liquidation – the Australian operators of Dutch denim designer, G-Star-Raw, have gone into voluntary administration in order to counter “well-documented difficult trading conditions in the fashion industry”. The Australian operation involves 21 stores. The international arm of G-Star Raw, which is not linked with the local operators, also sells G-Star garments through stores like David Jones and Glue Store.

3. Man To Man stores sold – all remaining 62 Man To Man retail stores and their 242 employees will be transferred to new owners following discussion with administrators just 2 months after the group went into voluntary administration.

4. Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant is to open for a restricted season in Melbourne while his UK restaurant is renovated. A ballot was held for dining seats at $525 per head (plus drinks), and quickly closed when the limit of 14,000 bookings was reached. The 13 course meal is held over 4 or so hours and obviously plenty of diners were not put off by the cost.

5. Cadbury cops flack over reduced size of chocolate bar. Cadbury has reduced the size of its family block from 220gm to 200gm whilst maintaining the cost. Chocolate lovers around Australia were up in arms and forced Cadbury to issue a statement saying they preferred to keep a quality product affordable in the face of rising production costs.

6. Save The Cockroaches – a Canberra vegetarian restaurant has been fined $16,000 for failing to get rid of insect pests on its premises on moral grounds. The owner chose not to exterminate the cockroaches because it would involve “killing little creatures”. He has since accepted that his decision was based on misguided morals.

Have Your Say - click here.

Latest Retail News – 7/2/2015

Latest Retail News – 7/2/2015
1. JB Hi-Fi has reported a slide in first half profits.
2. McDonalds considering table service.
3. H&M to open in Perth.
4. December online sales were flat.
5. Lindt’s Martin Place siege cafe to re-open.
6. Chinese mobile phone maker, Huawei, opens first retail concept in Australia.
7. Vacancy rates in Melbourne’s Bridge Rd. Shopping strip reach nearly 20%.
8. US technology retailer, Radio Shack, files for bankruptcy protection.
9. Reserve Bank cuts interest rates for first time in 17 months.
10. G-Star Raw goes into administration.
11. Australian luxury label, Josh Goot, placed in voluntary administration. 

Barbecue Buzz

Last Sunday’s Melbourne Barbecue Festival has been described as the biggest day event on QVM’s Queen St. in 20 years. Queues for the luscious slow-cooked BBQ meats stretched up into the top end aisles and were only diminished as vendors ran out of food and asked customers to come back for the next round.  There were “sold out” signs at 1:00pm, 4:00pm, and again at 6:00pm as the festival stretched on into the evening. Some estimates suggest that it brought an extra 20,000 people to our market.

The event did have its issues. There are reports that not all traders benefited from the huge crowds. Specialty (General merchandise) Traders in the top end generally reported a poor day’s trade with only a few saying that their products clicked with the food crowd. Creating Queen St. events that can translate into business for the top end remains a very difficult task. There were also issues with Specialty Traders along Queen St. having to pack early so the event could continue on into the evening.  

However, a real positive was that food vendors from other areas (F shed and Victoria St.) reported good business as they took advantage of the overflow of customers. Apparently many of our butchers benefited from the interest in special meat cuts for this style of cooking and are enthusiastic about its potential. The participants themselves, particularly those from the US, were very impressed with the response. Associated activities like cooking classes were sold out and even a class for prospective cooking judges was over-subscribed.

There is one very significant question that needs to be asked about this event. Why was it so successful? We have food related events most Sundays on Queen St. Why did this one attract such a huge response? Was it the fact that Australians are just BBQ crazy? Was it the link with our highly respected Meat Hall? Were slow cooked meats and huge portable ovens the key? Or was it the marketing and promotion of the event? No doubt these were all factors.

When I went to collect my mail on Monday morning, the Postmasters wife asked me how the big BBQ went. She said she had seen it on TV, possibly one of the morning shows. I have since had other family and acquaintances mention that they had heard of the event in advance so it would appear that it gained significant exposure. The organisers have advised us that they had assistance from professional marketing people and that a lot of hard work went into things like media liaison, press releases, and poster distribution. There may be lessons here for other events at QVM and indeed for marketing the market generally.

It would appear that there is a lot to be learned from the success of Melbourne BBQ Festival at QVM. What is the old saying? – “Success breeds success.”

07/02/2015 22:24:34 Sunday BBQ event "As a general trader, our business was so bad, that we did not have such a bad day in years.
I hope the Market office do understand that we are the back bone of the market ( general traders, fruiters, butures etc..)and without us the market will not exist.
If they do so much publicity for a casual Sunday BBQ, they should certainly do much much more publicity for all the traders who spend decades, with all the dificulties, and their livelihood depends on this."
08/02/2015 - It should be noted that the marketing and promotion mentioned in this article was done by the event organisers, not QVM. - Ed