David Jones Food Plans – some might see DJ’s using QVM as inspiration for their new push into food as a compliment, and it certainly is (see article below). But maybe there is a touch of “beware of the iron hand in the velvet glove” here. QVM’s competitors are not shy about pinching our clientele and there is plenty of the “market” word in DJ’s dialogue.
Keeping ahead of the pack is no doubt high on everybody’s agenda and that won’t just be in the variety and quality of produce but also in the service we offer our customers. Things like customer comfort and extended trading hours are also key components of our competitiveness and will need careful attention.
Top End Makeover – there has been much discussion (and let’s be honest, angst) over this week’s announcement of a new food court component in the top end. The angst surrounds E shed specialty traders being moved to make way for the new food offer. Meetings were held with the F shed tenants last week and no doubt the prospect of a makeover was greeted positively. In hindsight, the first meeting probably should have been with the traders who were going to be displaced. Surprisingly, over 30 traders are likely to be affected. Recent trader moves seem to have been handled well by the intrepid negotiators, Russell Wheelhouse and Peter Shepheard, and we shouldn’t prejudge the outcome on this occasion. Individual negotiation to find a solution for each trader will be the aim.
On the question of whether this will be a success or not it will surprise no-one to learn that there are many different opinions. A retail recession brings with it many uncertainties and each new attempt to find a way through probably only has a 50% chance of succeeding. There is more to fix here than just appearance but creating a food court which will encourage customers to “linger longer” in the top end has potential and addressing the neglect of our F shed traders is most welcome. Warmer weather down the track should maximise the appeal.
Nothing comes easy in retailing these days but some good management combined with proper consideration for displaced traders, and some overall trader goodwill, may just make this one work.
Apologies for the mixed up metaphor in earlier editions of this article. It is an "iron hand in a velvet glove" - Ed.