Sunday 30 September 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 30/9/2018

Hawker Night Market picks up – a bigger crowd and improved sales for Specialty Traders have been reported from Wednesday night’s market. A number of tweaks were applied by management and first time traders seemed to get their lighting right on this occasion. Some also made adjustments to their product offer to better appeal to a younger clientele.

Digital Signage Suggestion. A trader has suggested that each stall location should have a digital sign above it. Traders would log in at their location and the appropriate sign for their business would come up on the screen. This would aid customer way-finding and also have potential for marketing and event promotion.

Rent Increase – The big topic of discussion this week was news of a 2% rent increase. There were many opinions but probably the most popular was “It isn’t a lot but given current business conditions, any increase is inappropriate.” Some others – “Weren’t we guaranteed no rent increase until 2021?” “It is only the cost of a coffee and cake per week.” “It goes against the concept of assisting traders through difficult times”. “Maybe if we cancelled the Traders Ball and the Traders Lounge, there wouldn’t have to be a rent increase.” “Isn’t there something about rent and taxes being inevitable?”

Table Adjustments for Hawker Night Market – The new Asian Night Market features a Hawker style table arrangement which on the first night essentially involved two extremely long tables that created a barrier between food and Specialty Traders and made socialising difficult for diners. Management tweaked the arrangement and on the second night we saw multiple lines of narrower tables and more gaps that improved customer flow and as a bonus created additional seating. Some traders would like to see more gaps.

Eagles Fans Disappoint – after the drama of a closely fought AFL Grand Final, traders were hoping for a spending spree on Sunday but that didn’t seem to eventuate. The crowd was good, and hopefully food vendors had a good day but as one trader said. “The Eagles fans have had their entertainment at the match and the post match celebrations. Many of them will have spent a lot of money on travel and accommodation and are just keen to get home.”

Betty and Terry had to put their normal van in for some significant repairs this week after the power steering packed up. Their smaller standby van was doing fine for a couple of days until the alarm system broke down at the market and they had to be towed home. Sometimes when it rains it pours.

Have Your Say - click here.

01/10/2018 08:42:28       Rent Increase           "It’s not the cost of the increase that hurts it’s the reneging of the agreement of no rental increases until 2021 that disappoint traders.  You have high lighted 2 says of saving money before traders have to help valence the markets books."
Thanks for your comment. It raises many, many questions. Commenting on emotive issues like this is a bit like walking on egg shells but let's make a few points. There may not be an agreement on rents at QVM , at least not in writing. According to the Australian Financial Review there are recent examples of negative spreads (the difference between old lease rents and new lease rents) in Australia although existing leases tend to have built in rises. QVM probably does need to make a profit. The strong support for our market may wane if the people of Melbourne have to subsidise it. This increase is minimal. You should never expect traders to look favourably on a rent increase. Thanks again for your input - Ed.

01/10/2018 13:28:46       Rent increases         "On behalf of the many S/L traders that still don’t have a licence or lease are we exemp from the current rent increase. That is probably no to both questions. No we are not exemp and No I still can’t build a bridge and  and get over it. "  
Thanks for your comment - Ed.

01/10/2018 13:32:21       Rent increase           "If we were to forgo the Traders Ball could we have no rental increase for a further 12 months. The sheds are not looking more empty for no good reason?"
Once again a comment that raises many, many questions. No, the cost of the Traders Ball comes nowhere near the increased revenue sought by QVM to meet its yearly operational expenses. And besides there are many traders who value the concept of trader recognition at a special function. The first Trader Ball was a great night.
Empty sheds? - there are many reasons for empty stalls. There are many complexities facing every global retailer. Traders and QVM have a lot to work on. There are no easy solutions here. Cancelling a Traders Ball is a nice one-liner but it is unlikely to help.
Thanks for your input. - Ed.

02/10/2018 14:39:10       Ball and rent increases      "Greg I hear what you say ie that the ball was a great success... freeefood free drink very nice however the economic conditions have changed in the last 2 years and the ball can be seen by many as being frivolous in this poor retail climate. Rather rent increases it might only be the cost of a coffee and a cake but is the poor retailer  to be denied this small pleasure? Your comments please."
No, no, no! You are missing the point. It wasn't the freebies. The central theme of that night was the contribution made by traders to QVM. In my time at QVM that was the first time I saw focused public recognition of the crucial role that traders, particularly long-term traders, make to our wonderful market. Call me old fashioned but I think that is definitely worth the modest expenditure. - Ed

03/10/2018 05:42:45       Ball     "Greg I am not missing the point re the ball my main comment was that due to our tough economic climate perhaps that money could be better spent elsewhere. I’m sure long term traders would understand."
I guess we have differing opinions and that is what websites like this are all about. Thanks for your input - Ed.

Top Retail Stories This Week

Which US Fast Food Chain Earns The Most Per Store? – McDonalds? Starbucks? Subway? Nope, all wrong. It is Chick-fil-A, and they close on Sundays.

Amazon 4 Star is the name of Amazon’s new bricks’n’mortar retail concept and as the name suggests it only sells 4 star or above rated products. -

Latest Retail News – 30/9/2018

1. Tommy Hilfiger launches Australian online store.
2. Coca Cola marks 80 years in Australia.
3. 57% of UK shoppers prefer un-manned checkouts.
4. US consumer confidence reaches 18 year high in September.
5. Michael Kors buys Versace fashion empire for $2.1billion.
6. Solomon Lew threatens another attack on Myer board.
7. Coles sells off WA retail assets as it prepares for de-merger.
8. Nike’s sales rise by 10% in quarter one.
9. Coles “Little Shop” collectables credited with 5% boost in sales.
10. Online sales boost H&M results.
11. Amazon opens new store in New York that only stocks 4 star + rated products.

QVM In The News

STREET FOOD Queen Victoria Market will transform its iconic shed space into a celebration of Asian street food and culture with the Hawker 88 Night ...
Join a fromage frenzy at the beloved Prahran Market when some of ... or visit Queen Victoria Market for Oz-Asian fare at the seasonal Hawker 88 Night ...
Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market has launched its new Hawker 88 Night Market, held every Wednesday night until 24 October, and will feature ...
No trip to the South Melbourne Market is complete without copping an ... of the river, there is also a Queen Victoria Market and Bourke Street location).
One of the longest-standing foodie institutions in Melbourne is the Queen Victoria Market, on the north side of the CBD. It has been open since the ...

Monday 24 September 2018

Traders And Nature With Something In Common

Nghia Trinh used to work at our market and his career has taken him elsewhere but a post he put on Facebook this week immediately connected us with market traders.

He posted photos of nature overcoming adversity and thriving. We couldn't help but drawing parallels with our ability as market traders to find our niche, overcome adversity, make the most of limited resources and,in the end still bloom. 

Well maybe "bloom" isn't quite the right word given current trading conditions, but you get the meaning.

It must be Monday morning.............. a time for reflection.

Have Your Say - click here.

25/09/2018 19:38:20      Nature photo          "Lovely photo...... keep them coming a light hearted look at global misery in retail !!!!!!"

Paul Guerra Tweaks Royal Melbourne Show offer

 The Chairman of the QVM Board, Paul Guerra, also has a role as boss of the Royal Agricultural Society who run the Melbourne Show.

And aware of the need for keeping up with the times, Guerra identified that the show needed to be “a bit more contemporary”.

He looked at the data and saw that 18-35 year olds had been missing over recent years.

He decided that good food and entertainment were the likely draw cards for that group and set about raising the bar.

Local restaurants have been invited in to improve the food standard and according to an article on the ABC there is not a CWA scone or spiral potato on a stick to be found.

Another innovation has been a cheaper entry ticket for those attending the show after work or university.

The show still retains its connection with country and family’s but in Guerra’s words has become “a bit more funky”.

Sunday 23 September 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 23/9/2018

The Hawker Night Market launched this week with most Specialty Merchandise participants describing it as a “work in progress”. As expected,some tweaking will be needed from organisers and the same from traders new to the night time experience. Night time trading is certainly different not only with the conditions but also the clientele. A few traders reported lighting issues which they will need to address before next Wednesday and a few will be tinkering with their product offer as they adjust to customer preferences. For a first time concept with many first time night traders, it was generally given a thumbs up. Hopefully the school holidays and perhaps some warmer weather will contribute to an even better assessment  next week.

Breaking the monotony – on a particularly quiet day’s trading (Saturday) it took a little creative thinking from Trader Ronnie Z to launch his “Half time fruit break” for nearby traders. The delicious fresh fruit, the kind gesture, and the fun factor helped brighten up the day for traders. Good thinking  Ronnie.

Box Storage In M Shed – the plan to remove trader’s storage boxes from M Shed and free up the space for QVM storage needs has resulted in at least one email protest from a trader. One trader suggested that if the roller door space had been required for retail purposes that would have made more sense. Traders with larger than average stalls, high levels of stock, and multiple storage boxes may have issues with the move.

Australian Actor at Night Market – Melbourne born actor David Lyons was a customer at the inaugural Hawker 88 Night Market. He is known for his roles as Josh Holiday in the Nine Network navy drama Sea Patrol, Dr. Simon Brenner in the NBC medical drama ER, General Sebastian Monroe in the NBC post-apocalyptic drama Revolution, and most recently as Mike Diangelo in the Netflix series Seven Seconds. Our photo shows David with Emine from Aminalee Jewellery in String Bean Alley.

Some traders greeted the news of the West Coast Eagles winning their way into the AFL Grand Final with great anticipation. Western Australian visitors have been good customers of our market in the past. However reports that airlines are inflating the airfares for the Perth/Melbourne trip may put a dampener on the visitor’s spending. Up to $2000 for a return flight has been reported.

More traders are calling for a consolidation of the Upper Market so that the trading area can look full and busy without the current gaps. (PS - a senior source has suggested we watch this space.)

Romeo’s Café in F Shed is closed while it undergoes its own form of renewal. In the meantime the banter with Romeo and Theresa will be missed by many.

No reports on the new Trader Engagement Centre or Trader Lounge on Victoria St. yet. Please comment in Have Your Say if you have attended.

Latest Retail News – 23/9/2018

Latest Retail News – 23/9/2018
1. One in three Australian customers only use card.
2. Amazon sets aside part of its website just for small and medium retailers.
3. Kathmandu reports record profits.
4. Restaurant, Soul Origin, reaches 100 stores in Australia.
5. Coca-Cola looks at cannabis-infused drinks.
6. One of Finland’s biggest department stores introduces gender neutral shopping.
7. China having huge impact on global wine industry.
8. David Jones partners with Sephora.
9. H&M global sales rose 9% in third quarter.
10. Premier Investments profit drops 20% on write-downs.
11. Fashion label Esprit confirms big loss.
12. Repco re-launches brand with motor sport flavour.
13. UK food giant, Tesco, launches cut price supermarket, Jacks.

Boring As Batshit – Bernie Brooks on Australian department stores -

Retails three most under-rated digital trends

The Future of Department Stores In Australia -

Leather Goods Stall For Sale

One of our Leather Jacket/Motorbike Wear stalls is up for sale. The stall trades 4 days and can be purchased with or without stock. It has traded for 29 years and has some prime locations including Sundays at Q30 which is a corner stall on the Queen St. Walkway and Rear L Shed.

Stall locations are Sunday Q30, Tuesday J54, Friday L65, and Saturday K54.

You can get further information from John on 0418399230.

Sunday 16 September 2018

Heard Under The Sheds - 16/9/2018

Mural idea could go further. The plan to feature 3 market traders in an interactive mural sounds great (see latest Trader Bulletin) One trader suggested that he had a few neighbours he’d like to see in bronze. We still haven’t worked out what he meant.

A story doing the rounds says the reason the QVM sign on the market roof had a repaint was to make it more visible from Queen St. office buildings. We like the airline passenger reason better.

A trader has found a way to put prices and a “Buy” button on all his Facebook and Instagram posts. His theory is to make it as easy as possible for buyers. Makes a lot of sense and probably identifies the future of social media advertising. We'll try and find out how he went.

Memorable PA Announcements - After Collingwood’s AFL win last night a trader recalled the devilish act of one of our Market Officers back in 1990 after a Collingwood Grand Final win. This Market Officer commandeered the PA system and played the Collingwood theme song at full volume early on a Sunday morning much to the delight of a few Collingwood supporters and with howls of protest from the rest of the market.

A few of our tourist customers learned a golden rule about Melbourne over the last few days. Never try to understand or predict our weather. Just bring your thongs and snow boots.

A trader welcomes the new Trader Connect Lounge on Victoria St. which opens on Tuesday but wonders how traders will be able to attend during trading hours. He assumes only those businesses operated by partnerships or employing workers will be able to drop in.

And the REAL reasons for painting our roof sign - 
   - help restore civic pride in our QVM asset.
   - the sign is visible from Queen and Peel Streets and the car park.
   - help attract publicity (which worked).
Now that makes more sense than all our other opinions.

Have Your Say - click here.

The One Thing That Drives Traders

Traders are normal people. Like everybody else we have hopes and expectations, challenges, feelings and failings. We experience good times, bad times and so on.

But there is one thing that rules us more than most - the sale. A sale can make a big difference to our day. A sale can make us relieved if we have big bills to pay. A sale can make us feel simply wanted, particularly after long periods of no sales. A sale can make us feel proud if we have engineered and marketed a product successfully. A sale can make us feel connected and often be the vehicle of a very satisfying social exchange. When you really connect with a customer it is great.

When you are down a sale can lift you. When you are up a lost sale can have the opposite effect. When there is a big crowd of customers but sales are not happening it is very frustrating. When the crowd is thin, and hopes are dim, a sale can surprise and lift your spirits.

It is said that a good sales person is always positive and exuberant, but we are normal people and many of us wear our heart on our sleeves. We take it all personally and we ride a roller coaster of anticipation and reality. And maybe that is the drug. The unexpected is just around the corner, and experimentation can produce unforeseen results.

There are many elements to being a market trader but few are more exciting or conversely frustrating than the sale.

QVM In The News - 16/9/2018

Drawing influences from London's Covent Garden and Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market, PasarBella Suntec is a modern spin on the country's ...
Satisfy your food cravings with a tour of Queen Victoria Market, the best place in Melbourne to shop for a wide array of tasty food, including fresh fruits ...
Queen Victoria Market are inviting all fans of the number one dairy product in the world for five days of music, wine, food trucks and cheese sampling.

Retail News Shorts – 16/9/2018

Retail News Shorts – 16/9/2018
1. Costco goes slightly ahead of Target and K-Mart on customer satisfaction.
2. French sports retailer, Decathlon, to open first US store.
3. Nestle loses case to protect Kit-Kat 4 fingers design.
4. China promises retaliation over US tariffs.
5. Myer suffers $486m loss.
6. UK sports retailer, JD Sports, increases half year profit by 17%
7. Amazon Australia launches into Automotive and Pet Care categories.
8. Myers Chief Operating Officer departs.
9. Walmart’s Scan & Go stores claim 10 million users in China.
10. NZ Dairy giant, Fonterra, posts first ever loss.
11. Retail lags behind broader economy
12. Sumo Salad comes out of voluntary administration.
13. Dymocks launches new education business
14. Myer reveals turnaround strategy including readily accessible staff and Myer brands.

Retail And Warships

There are plenty of expert opinions about retailing and equally plenty of uncertainty about what the future holds. But one customer had an interesting view on where we are at.

This started as a nautical discussion about a relatively unknown British warship called the "Warrior" which absolutely revolutionised the genre with iron cladding over its wooden hull, and rifle bored cannons but the new concept didn’t last long. As revolutionary as it was, designers soon realised that they could build ships entirely of iron and they would still float. Iron cladding over wood was just an interim and all-iron ships became the long term solution.

Our scholarly customer went on to talk about word processors taking over from typewriters but that didn’t last long because we realised that computers could do word processing and a whole lot more. His point was that a revolution will often involve rapid change and it takes time to sort through the options before settling on a long term solution.

I talked to a few other customers about this type of change and asked one of them how Retailing fitted into this discussion. His response was immediate - he feels we are still very much in the middle of our revolution. He believes we will try and discard many things and some elements of what we see, particularly more customer convenience, are likely to be a large part of the final solution. But we are not there yet. Oh for a crystal ball!

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Old School Marketing

Social media is the new darling of marketers and the Queen Victoria Market is no exception but our market also has room for some old school forms of promotion in this case a letterbox drop to 150,000 nearby homes.

This substantial 3 page double-sided newsletter contains heaps of news for customers including upcoming promotions, stories about traders, and general information. It is great to see more bases are being covered in promoting QVM.

Have Your Say - click here.

Traders Needed For People’s Panel

I know - this is a people’s panel not a trader’s panel. It will be populated by well-meaning but sometimes ill-informed groups with sometimes crazy ideas about how our market should be run and perhaps little idea of what is needed for profitable trading.

It requires attendance at workshops that will be conducted on key trading days with traders expected to give up a day’s trading for a $100 attendance payment. 

There are many reasons why the People’s Panel is not attractive to traders.

But there is at least one good reason why traders should attend. This is all about community involvement and convincing groups linked with QVM that we need rational options for improving our market - options that are focused on business, because viable business for traders is the only thing that will guarantee a future for QVM. Without traders in the discussion that will/may be difficult.

If you are a business focused trader, and can possibly swing attendance at the workshops please apply (link below). If you are selected and you have operational difficulties attending the workshops (staffing, leave arrangements etc.) then the Management/Renewal Team ask you to raise those issues. They are keen to accommodate trader's needs. The closing date for applications has been extended to Sunday 16th September.

Monday 10 September 2018

The ABC Of Going Online – Easy Steps For Traders From Business Mentors

Going online in some way is becoming a must-do for traders and it is easier to achieve than you might think.

SBMS Business Mentors are running a Digital Marketing Workshop for Traders which will give you the basics to start the process.

The workshop will launch on Tuesday 18th September at 3pm in the new Traders Lounge.

Click on the following link for details of the workshop and a very useful run-down on the most common forms of social media engagement , how they operate, and their positives and negatives.

Sunday 9 September 2018

Heard Under The Sheds - 9/9/2018

Vote For Your Favourite Trader has kicked off in earnest with a number of traders seeking votes on facilities like Facebook. But Ronnie from Ronnie Z And The Fabulous Juice had a different technique. He was handing out delicious morsels of fresh fruit and casually reminding recipients that trader voting was now open. Let us know your technique for getting votes.

A Trader said he doesn’t remember the last time a prime trading spot like the corner of E Shed and the Centre Walkway was left vacant. “It would certainly never have happened on a Sunday.”

On a similar theme another trader said that QVM had a real problem. The General Merchandise precinct has provided the bulk of QVM rental income for a long time and now it was in decline. “Reduced trade affects everyone.”

This giant sports shoe (it is sitting on a full size dining table) was sighted at Joel’s Auctions during the week and would have been a great feature display for one of our shoe sellers. It eventually sold for $380. Did a QVM Trader get it?

Induction session for the new Hawker Night Market took place on Thursday evening in the Food Court. Great to see a growing number of our traders getting their  opportunity at Night Market trading.

Trader Uber Eats – a trader has asked why traders can’t have their own internal food delivery service. The idea is that perhaps the Son or Daughter of a Trader could collect and deliver food from surrounding food vendors to traders for a modest fee, part of which could be paid by the trader and part by the food shop. The Trader hastens to say that there are already some excellent food delivery services within the market (Ronnie Z and Josies Café were mentioned) but sometimes you just feel like something different. With many sole traders trapped at their stalls, this sounds like a good idea. Any budding young entrepreneurs out there?

A Trader asks why we can't consolidate our trader positions and remove the glaring gaps in the Upper Market. He suggests there are ways of closing off areas with suitable camouflage and transferring traders into one vibrant full precinct. Maybe it is time.

Have Your Say – click here.

Articles Worth A Read - 9/9/2018

Many articles come across our desk each week and here are a few that sparked particular interest.

The fastest growing retailer in America doesn’t sell online -

There's A Hole In This Argument

You might have heard the term “doughnut” to describe the vacant stalls in the centre of sheds C-E. It has been suggested that we should try to fix the empty stall problem before we work on the outside of the market. But does that really make sense?

Plans are currently being considered to upgrade the A Shed Laneway on one side of the Upper Market and String Bean Alley on the other. But the hole in the middle remains a problem. The question is whether we put the upgrades on hold while that problem is addressed.

Trader, Jenny Pyke, mentioned the “doughnut” effect as a personal concern at a recent meeting of traders. That meeting was called to discuss the plan for 12 additional containers in String Bean Alley. Coincidentally the outspoken activist group, Friends of The Market, have apparently also used the term “doughnut” in their Facebook postings. They are arguing against the plans to finally activate SBA with more containers.

The argument seems to be that we shouldn’t engage in any new ventures while we are struggling with current issues. If you look at the wider retail industry, recent retail logic involves working through current issues as well as trying new things that might just resonate with demanding consumers. Some things will be hard to fix. Some will be easier. Some will capture the attention of consumers fairly quickly. Others will take longer. Rarely would it be advisable stop everything until one particular issue is fixed. String Bean Alley should have been done properly in the first place and now is a great opportunity to get it right and add something to our market.

As one trader said recently – “Whilst I can understand the frustration of many traders at the current state of trade under the Sheds, to not progress or innovate in other areas is like not buying new or different products because some of your current products are selling badly. That certainly doesn't make any sense.”

As we have said many times on these pages, while the rest of the retail world charges ahead with innovation, we need to show consumers that we can be relevant to their needs and willing to experiment and adjust with the times. We need to take opportunities.

Both the A Shed Laneway and String Bean Alley have shown great potential for after-hours activation. They are high profile and consistent with Market expert David O’Neils proposal that we needed to make more of our market edges and enhance the connection with the rest of the city. South Melbourne Market has made a great success of activating its edges.

Customers are obviously looking for after-hours activity and whilst the fragile nature of family businesses can make longer hours difficult for individual traders, the creation of precincts that can more easily accommodate alternative hours makes a lot of sense. Any Traders who can be a part of extended hours should give it serious thought. 

That is not an easy task and we need to get on with the job. Addressing issues like empty stalls must be a focus for all of us. But the path to achieving greater customer engagement has many threads including trying new things and pursuing those ideas that have shown even a glimpse of potential success. String Bean Alley and the A Shed Laneway have shown that potential and are worthy of effort.

And just one more thing - tenancy in QVM shops currently stands at 100%. Clearly many traders are keen for more shop-like facilities to make the most of their trading opportunities. 

This is not an attempt to turn QVM into a container city. The completion of String Bean Alley is a modest attempt at addressing changing consumer preferences and making our market a more desirable destination for shopping.  At the same time it will give interested traders a better way of presenting their offer. 

By Greg Smith

Have Your Say - click here.

Retail News Shorts – 9/9/2018

Retail News Shorts – 9/9/2018
1. Harvey Norman looks to overseas expansion as profit falls.
2. Myer axes 30 management roles.
3. Tiffany sales in Asia/Pacific rise 28%.
4. Arnott’s Biscuit brand up for sale.
5. Coca-Cola purchases UK coffee chain.
6. Luxury category predicted to grow twice as fast as general retail.
7. Retail Food Group post. $306m loss.
8. Woolworths and Coles dominate fresh bread market with more than 50% of total sales.
9. John Lewis cuts 270 jobs as it rebrands.
10. Woolworths experiments with checkout free shopping.
11. Sportsgirl enters beauty product market.
12. Shoe maker, Vans, opens more of its own stores.

QVM In The News - 9/9/2018

... by the end of 2019, including Federation Square, Southbank, Southern Cross Station, State Library, Queen Victoria Market and Olympic Boulevard.
Food-lovers hankering for Asian street food should head to Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market for a new event celebrating the flavours of our near 
Next Sunday, on your weekly Queen Victoria Market shop, try noticing the amount of shoppers juggling shopping bags while trying to enjoy a bratwurst ...
In March, Heritage Victoria shut down Melbourne City Council plans to dismantle and restore old sheds at the market under the proposed $250 million ...

Queen Vic Market is getting another night market ... event (for now) next Wednesday, August 29, today the Queen Victoria Market has announced it will ...