Sunday 25 June 2017

Does Our Market Need To Get Smaller To Survive?

There is plenty of talk around the top end of QVM about the likelihood of traders leaving as we battle declining sales.  What will that mean for the future structure of the market?

It now some 6 years ago that the idea of converting J,K,L,M sheds to an events space was first presented. The proposition was that the face of retailing was changing rapidly and the over-supply of General Merchandise Traders could be countered by the growing need in Melbourne for events space.

Not a lot has changed unless you call QVM’s successful move into Night Markets a move to events creation. But the dilemma for our day market in the top end remains and the slow but steady departure of traders is in danger of creating a very unattractive retail landscape that could simply increase the rate of decline. That is why our article appeared last week – “Is It Time We Curated Our Market?”

For many there are positives to a smaller market. It makes sense to adjust trader numbers to consumer demand and we know that many factors have influenced the demand factor – declining wages, rising living costs, alternative sources of shopping, and so on. A smaller market would be an opportunity to get rid of duplication (that needs to be carefully managed) address issues like trading hours, and hopefully create a smaller number of traders sharing the same consumer pie (or perhaps a bigger pie if we do it properly) and all making a reasonable living.

As one executive pointed out this week, we need to be aware of what impact any reduction in trader numbers will have on the overall appeal of the market. That is a valid point and this needs to be managed properly but 6 years is already far too long to activate a proper response to the dramatic changes in retailing. If the Night Markets are any guide then perhaps we will end up with a top end day market that is 50% food and 50% general merchandise. Many top end traders are asking for action although in fairness to the debate there are still some who seek no change.

While inaction and slow decline continue those seeking action are likely to grow in number. This is not a time for scare-mongering but just how far do we let decline go before it becomes terminal?

By Greg Smith

26/06/2017 21:37:41 Market Size "I have recently been able to expand my stall size on Sat Sun. My takings have increased by approx. 40% over the past 2 months compared to the same  time last year. Perhaps Traders could apply be able to increase there stall size ,better their presentation and therefore fill up some of the empty stall spaces. Everyone benefits." Steve
Thanks Steve - Great to hear that a positive move is working for you, and good advice. - Ed

26/06/2017 22:11:23 Market Decline "You've covered a smaller market size & and rental discounts for stall holders to ease the decline in business however one incident that a lot of traders are talking about is the small number of traders that thought having a few drinks during a Saturday trade was a fun idea.
Imagine what customers were viewing traders drinking, drunk & sleeping it off at their stall. A lot of traders are trying their best to project the Market in a good light and that wasn't a good look and does bother to help our declining image."

You are right - that wasn't a good look, but lesson learned, and I think we can say with those involved it will not happen again - time to move on. Thanks for your input. - Ed.