Sunday 26 August 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 26/8/2018

No Way To Start A Trading Day – trader Lana was setting up her stall in J Shed on Saturday morning when a pigeon decided to relieve itself directly above her collection of fine silk fabrics. Our photo shows just one of the pieces that had to be thrown out. Pigeons roosting above stalls in J Shed have been a problem for some time and various methods including spaying on deterrent chemicals have been tried. Clearly they are not working and at least one trader feels it is time we got serious with the problem. Many others will agree.

Another Trader Goes – T-shirt designer and manufacturer, Sol, has sold his business on Queen St. and will be leaving the market.

A Very Happy Customer – Trader Betty, found a handbag near her stall and it contained a number of valuables including a wallet and passport. The bag was collected by a member of staff and taken to Shop F1. On arrival at F1 the staff-member found a very teary customer and now a very happy customer who is grateful for the honesty and alertness of QVM Traders.

OMG is that a split system? This was the comment on facebook when a photo of a trader’s container in String Bean Alley showed that it included an air conditioner. In fact the container used to house ATMs and the air conditioner was installed to protect delicate electrical systems in hot weather. Now it is an interesting addition to the list of customer comforts this trader can offer, or as one trader suggested, maybe an excuse to install a beer garden.

People’s Panel – a few traders are asking if Traders are really being considered for this Panel with at least 2 of the 4 planned sessions taking place during key trading times.

People’s Panel 2 – a couple of traders discussing the People’s Panel and lamenting that they couldn’t really sacrifice two trading days to attend but what if the ill-informed or minority interest groups held sway and worked against the majority of traders? 

Interviews For New Night Market – the new Asian themed Hawkers Night Market will be starting soon with interviews being conducted with current traders who meet the concept criteria - yet another opportunity for a variety of traders to experience the busy Night Market.

Trader Graeme is unable to drive his van at the moment and gets a lift into the market from fellow trader Leah - great to see traders helping each other out.

New Proposal For String Bean Alley

QVM and City of Melbourne have plans for String Bean Alley and traders can find out more about it next Friday after the market.

The proposal includes adding 12 new container-style retail outlets to the precinct. The proposal will seek to attract more customers to this area of the market, supporting existing traders and also give visitors a unique Melbourne laneway experience.

String Bean Alley has shown promise particularly through its association with the Night Markets but during the Day Market parts of it have looked more like a car-park or box storage area . We note that the official advice refers to “container-style” retail outlets. What does that actually mean? Will pods, like the test unit in C Shed, form part of this new proposal?

All will be revealed at Market Expresso Coffee on String Bean Alley this coming Friday 31st August from 3:15pm. All traders are invited and coffee and snacks will be provided.

My First Winter Night Market

A trader once said to me that the Night Market pinches customers from the Day Market and I can now tell him that I doubt that is true - the Night Market is a different beast altogether.

Wednesday night was my first foray into the glitzy world of QVM’s successful Night Market concept (apart from one season of the Summer Night Market 20 years ago) and I participated from a container in String Bean Alley. Taking on a container in String Bean Alley is a bit of a gamble, at least until the aisle is fully populated, but the Night Market certainly helps with the economics.

The clientele on Wednesday night was quite different from the Day Market. The majority of my customers were young Asians, I’m guessing Chinese, and I am also guessing students, or possibly with a tour group.

This was clearly a tourist crowd. I was asked to join in photos on at least four occasions (they probably found the old sailor a quirky point of interest) and there was plenty of bubble wrapping for travel.

Business was good. I would describe it as equivalent to a good Saturday and of course the crowd is huge. There is definitely a party atmosphere going on, and an element of fun. This is not shopping, it is going out for a good time. Customers walking into your stall with a glass of beer or wine in their hand was testament to that.

One interesting little observation for me was that the young Asian customers were happy to buy my “Made in China” products while their parents would probably balk at the idea. Some generational change could be happening here.

Could this sort of atmosphere be translated to the Day Market? Maybe - but there are lots of things going on here. The Night Market is different, it’s special, it’s after hours, it’s at night, there is lots of food (in fact food dominates) and the music is pervading. You could bring some of those elements to a Day Market but it is a bit like trying to turn a station wagon into a sports car. You could get the colour and many of the components similar, but in the end they are different vehicles with different purposes, different features and different attractions.

The potential for doing business is clearly evident and it is quite possible that future traders will have viable market businesses based on a dose of both day and night trading.

By Greg Smith.

Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday 19 August 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 19/8/2018

Trader Parking Vouchers – we understand that management have conducted a survey of who is using the scarce Trader Parking Vouchers and found that many are being taken by stall employees. This caused one trader to suggest that legitimate goods-carrying trader vehicles should get first preference. We understand an assessment of the system is underway.

A customer was a little miffed that this stallholder didn’t remember him from his last visit. Turned out his last visit was 15 years ago. The story caused one trader to comment – “Some traders can’t remember their customers from last week.” A happy ending however with the 15 year customer making a substantial purchase on this occasion. Maybe he was trying to make sure he will be remembered next time.

The trials of our security staff – Saturday morning is not the time you expect revellers from the night before turning up very drunk at our market particularly with families and young kids around. Turns out this groups sobering up strategy included volumes of American Doughnuts. A little encouragement from our security staff and they were on their way.

SBA on a wet day earlier this year.
A trader has commented that this weekend of antartic weather conditions seriously tests our acceptance of the open-air market philosophy. Another asked if we are all tough or crazy or a combination of both. The same could apply to our customers. Fresh air is one thing, getting the full un-protected blast of icy winds and rain in some of our aisles is another thing altogether.

Articles Worth A Look – Steve Jobs, Business Incubators, Booming Golf…

Steve Jobs is an icon of innovative consumer engagement and his seven unbreakable laws of success are worth re-visiting. -

US Shopping Malls are turning empty stores into start-up incubators. -

Non-traditional golf is booming in US – mix golf with food, noise and companionship. -

Retail News Shorts – 19/8/2018

Retail News Shorts – 19/8/2018
1. Coles bag back flip designed to make toy giveaway easier to administer.
2. Ice cream containing healthy gut cultures could be next big thing.
3. Big W admits it lost its way with customers.
4. Americas largest mattress retailer, Mattress Firm, is considering bankruptcy to get out of onerous leasing arrangements and unprofitable stores.
5. Selfridges opened its Christmas Shop a week ago.
6. L’Oreal sales soar in Asia.
7. Amazon launches 30 minute food pick-up at its Whole Foods outlets.
8. Online retailer, Catch, to open physical store at Chadstone.
9. Tommy Hilfiger introduces Bluetooth enabled clothing which essentially tracks the customer.
10. Swap day for Coles register give-aways creates mayhem.
11. Energiser Batteries given approval to take over Varta.
12. JB HiFi profit up 12% in 2018.
13. Wesfarmers to get out of its K-Mart Tyre & Brake operation.
14. H&M to open its first outlet centre store in Sydney.
15. Online sales catered for over 60% of Dominos sales in 2017/18.
16. 7-Eleven acquires major stake in alcohol delivery service, Tipple.
17. The Iconic launches new range for kids.
18. Coles reports 6.8% drop in earnings while UK Bunnings debacle impacts on Wesfarmer’s profit.
19. Beacon Lighting reports record profit.
20. ABC says retail activity “unviable” as it exits its own stores in favour of licensing.
21. Macy’s sales slip in second quarter.
22. Kogan doubles earnings again.
23. Nodstrom up, JC Penney down in second quarter results.
24. Guy Russo retires as CEO of Wesfarmers Department Store Division.

QVM In The News - 19/8/2018

City of Melbourne councillors have voted seven to four in favour of a “people's panel” as part of a new consultation process for the proposed Queen ...
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Merlo, which operates out of the Queen Victoria Market, is looking to expand its Melbourne footprint with a new roastery and coffee outlet.
Chieng scopes out Queen Victoria Market, or as locals say, “Queen Vic,” an outdoor market filled with local vendors selling everything from handmade ...
QUEEN Victoria Market's future viability has been questioned as city councillors tonight voted to appoint a “people's panel” to vet the $250 million ...
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There's nothing better than checking out a new city's farmer's market, and Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market is worth checking out. The tram takes ...
Among Cr Capp's other favourite places is Queen Victoria Market, where she is a frequent visitor. “I could spend hours there, I go for two things and I ...
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The degustation dinner is located in String Bean Alley at the Queen Victoria Market – Peel Street end. To enter, simply fill out your details below and ...

Sunday 12 August 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 12/8/2018

A trader has pointed out that Parking Vouchers are in short supply again with Friday’s allocation running out by 7:15 am. He argued that we do need to make sure the system is working to full benefit for those traders who need to bring their vehicles into the market for business reasons.

Another Night Market – we have reports of a new night market starting up soon to bridge the gap between the Winter Night Market and the Summer Night Market which usually kicks off in November. Apparently this market will be Asian focused with food and goods sourced from Asia.

The Saturday Brewing Precinct in A Shed operates through to 9:00pm which has delighted a couple of traders who visited after their trading time. Why should customers get all the fun?

A trader spotted an article during the week on the American inspired food and drink delights available in Melbourne. He was disappointed it didn’t include the American Doughnut Kitchen. How could they leave out that market icon?

Car Parking - Some more speculation from some traders about the placement of the additional 280 car spaces promised by CoM for market customers. Apparently the Peoples Panel will consider the options.

We hear that our new General manager Operations, Mark Bullen, has passed one of his sternest tests yet - an interrogation from Betty Jennings. Well done Mark!

The Calm At QVM

A trader suggested this week that publications like Victraders were becoming less relevant these days because traders seemed to be getting everything they want from the powers that be.

City Hall is bending over backwards to provide consultation and engagement and not just to tick the boxes. The People’s Panel and particularly the Committee of Trustees are serious attempts to achieve unity in thinking. The Committee of Trustees is described as “The highest source of advice to Council on Renewal and Operations” and is positioned to give its participants real power.

QVM Management has upped its game in the area of communication and there are a variety of comprehensive information feeds to traders.

So, writing about trader issues when the major issues are under control and informing traders when the official channels are already doing that very well, does raise questions about the role of Victraders.

The heading of this article is a misnomer because there will be little general calm as the world engages in a long term re-adjustment in the retail industry. Retailing was never calm. But there is a sense at QVM that with the consultation process under control, we are better able to focus on the path ahead and all direct our efforts to the one thing that really counts here – the level of retail business at QVM. That will require a huge effort from every single participant.

By Greg Smith

Have Your Say - click here.

Retail News - NY Style Food, Darrel Lea, Aldi, M&S, Funds Bet Against Retail.....

Latest Retail News – 12/8/2018

McDonalds New Look – this is a concept that McDonalds are looking at for future restaurants. It has been described as the Apple Store look.

Aldi Expanding – after last week’s article on these pages suggesting that Aldi had almost reached saturation point with their rollout, we get news that Aldi in the US are looking to expand from 1600 stores to 2,500 by 2022 with product expansion particularly in fresh and gourmet foods.

Finding Your Niche In Modern Retailing might sound daunting but you will be surprised at the way consumers are embracing quirky ideas. One of the latest in America is a brand called Untuckit and, yes, they sell shirts designed to be worn outside your pants. More importantly they are rapidly opening outlets.

Fifteen New York Style food and drinks you can buy in Melbourne – What, no American Doughnut Kitchen? -

Darrel Lea expands its range as it progresses a significant turnaround -

Hedge Funds Shorting Australian Retailers – a report that investment funds are betting on a decline in Australian retailing as cash-poor consumers restrict discretionary spending. Let’s hope they are proved wrong.

What Is The Best Time For Traders To Attend Important Information Sessions?

There are lots of opportunities for traders to get assistance with their businesses, particularly through things like the mentor program, but making time is always a battle.

The Small Business Mentoring Service is planning workshops commencing in September and they would like to know what times will suit the majority of traders. Here is their request –

Have your say!
Trader Connect and SBMS will be running a series of workshops to assist you improve your skills and knowledge across a range of topics.
The workshops will kick off in September with a focus on using social media to market your business online.
We’d love your feedback on the best time to hold these workshops and topics you are interested in. Please complete the brief (mobile friendly) survey via the link (it will take less than 2minutes to complete) 

We know that there are many variables for traders when it comes to juggling after market activities, but please help by completing this short survey, and hopefully the result will suit as many traders as possible.

Sunday 5 August 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 5/8/2018

To Beer Or Not To Beer – a few traders have questioned the suitability of alcohol being promoted at the new beer precinct during the day market while others say it is refreshing innovation for QVM. Retail entertainment is certainly a driving philosophy for retail globally and as one trader said – “The only measure here is customer demand. If customers want this, I want it too.”

A Trader has questioned our temporary toilet facilities particularly during the busy night market. Apparently there have been complaints about equipment and cleanliness, particularly in the ladies toilets. We understand that management are working to correct any short comings in temporary toilets while the Queen Street block is being renovated.

Using Empty Spaces. – one of our empty stalls in K Shed was put to good use on Saturday with a short  impromptu game of Badminton – completely safe and considerate of customer flow.  One trader suggested that perhaps this could be a serious activity in empty areas of the market. Indoor soccer, cricket or golf could be other options.

Extra Car Parking – the news of an extra 280 car spaces for customers was generally greeted well although as one trader said – “It depends on where they put them. It won’t be much good if they put them on the rings of Saturn.” He is right about that.

New Arrivals – actually not new traders, but old traders trading on new days. A trader commented that there were a few established traders trading for the first time on Tuesday. Maybe it is part of the “Yes” philosophy from our Precinct Managers (see last week’s Heard Under The Sheds).

Reports of a productive TRC meeting involving Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, on Tuesday. One trader said that she shows genuine personal warmth with traders and their issues.

A market promotion for Ambiance’s Christmas range caused one trader to ask – “Why can’t we start Christmas promotion early for the Specialty Traders in the Upper Market? A Christmas in July promotion may just set the seed for strong sales performance in December.”

And Continuing the Christmas Reference - one of our traders sold a brass hand bell to a gentleman with a long white beard on Saturday, and yes, he was preparing for his Santa Claus role later in the year.

Have Your Say – click here.

Latest Retail News – 5/8/2018

Latest Retail News – 5/8/2018
1. Oroton gets approval to sell its shares for nil and ensure ongoing operation.
2. Pure online retailers still battle for consumer trust.
3. Dan Murphys launches niche online liquor offer allowing suppliers to broaden their offer.
4. Coles flips then flops then flips again on recyclable bags.
5. 7-Eleven offers reusable coffee cups.
6. Victoria replaces NSW as the top performing economy in Australia.
7. Drive through click and collect is key feature of Woolworths next generation stores.
8. Zumbo’s dessert chain falls into administration.
9. Food delivery service, Foodora, exits Australian market.
10. Apple the first corporation to reach $1trillion value.
11. Ralph Lauren turns around its fortunes based on sales in Asia.

June Retail Sales Show Promise – June sales were up 0.4% which was slightly higher than expected. Food and Supermarkets mirrored that rise while clothing reacted to chilly weather with a boost (+3.2%) but department stores were down once again (-1.2%).

Adriano Zumbo’s celebrity pastry business has fallen victim to excessive debt with his eight confectionary and pastry shops put under administration.

Surprise surge in June exports gives Australia its best balance of trade in 12 months.

Article looks at the death of the wholesaler – an interesting article that many market traders will relate to –

QVM In The News - 5/8/2018

Among Cr Capp's other favourite places is Queen Victoria Market, where she is a frequent visitor. “I could spend hours there, I go for two things and I ...
Google Plus Facebook Twitter Flag as irrelevant
The degustation dinner is located in String Bean Alley at the Queen Victoria Market – Peel Street end. To enter, simply fill out your details below and ...

Melbourne City Council has proposed building almost 300 new car parking spots at the Queen Victoria Market, weeks after signalling that the central ...
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AN extra 280 car parks are being proposed for the revamp of Queen Victoria Market even though the City of Melbourne's own transport strategy aims ...

Aldi - A Good Lesson

Aldi has been a success story in the Australian supermarket scene and led Dick Smith to claim their predatory tactics are one of the main reasons his Australian food company closed down.

Commentators are now predicting that Aldi may have just about reached its limit in Australia with around 500 stores and 13% of the market. That is because Aldi’s very successful model doesn’t tick all the boxes for all consumers.

Aldi focuses on a comparatively small range of products (1500 versus 20-30,000 in major supermarkets), and they sell good quality products at lower prices. Their shops are austere, there are no fancy in-house bakeries, and service is limited to a quick chat with the cashier as you check out. 

Customers who want more than that need to look elsewhere. And we can only assume that is OK by Aldi. They have picked their market, and successfully built a profitable business. What more can you ask?

Keeping a focus on what you do well might be a lesson for all retailers.

It’s All Happening At QVM!

 Do you feel there is a lot going on at QVM right now? Are we all of a sudden the centre of the universe?
  • There is the formation of a Committee of Trustees to provide “The highest source of advice to Council on Renewal and Operations.” 
  • There is the plan for a People’s Panel to provide advice on market infrastructure. 
  • A special mentoring service has been provided to assist traders adjust to the retail revolution. 
  • An innovative new precinct is being set up in A Shed to highlight boutique breweries, the latest social craze. 
  • The Winter Night Market is kicking goals and even Katye Perry made a visit this week. 

  • Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, is taking a personal interest in our market and even attending TRC meetings. 
  • The management team has been seen out and about on a regular basis. 
  • Communication from management has never been better with printed hard copies, emails, and even SMS. 
  • Google Alerts featuring QVM are becoming more and more frequent as mainstream press takes up QVM stories. (See Victraders “QVM In The News” articles.) 
  • Our inclusion in the “Magnificent Seven” global markets continues to gain mainstream and business press. 
  • There are more days with “big crowds”. 
  • A new Visitors Hub is due to arrive in our market in September. 
  • QVM has gained the protection and recognition of National Heritage listing. 
  • Car parking spaces are to be increased to 1000 to make it even easier for our valued customers to shop.

It’s all happening!

Now, to convert all that activity to sales - A grand challenge indeed.