Monday, 16 September 2019

Progressing Market Infrastructure Plans – Important Council Meeting Tuesday

The re-direction of market renewal (replacing the old plan for a major underground facility), and the guidance of a People’s Panel involving Traders, have resulted in a report to go to Council on Tuesday this week.

The plans involve four key infrastructure projects designed to prepare our market for future trading.
G Shed – which is basically the current waste disposal area on Queen St. between the Meat Hall and H&I sheds will become – “new undercover, segregated and controlled loading docks for traders, secure climate controlled trader storage, waste management facilities for Meat, Fish and Dairy Produce Halls, dedicated trader amenities including toilets, showers, lunch room, meeting rooms and lockers and public toilets and parents room.”

Queen St. North – the area of Queen St. closer to Victoria St. between the bottom of A,B,C Sheds and the Food Court/Meat Hall entrance. – “centralised waste and recycling facilities, new undercover, segregated and controlled loading docks for fruit and vegetable traders, multi-use space dedicated for trader deliveries and later converting to a public space for customers and visitors with integrated street furniture.”
Imagine a loading dock that allows convenient Trader deliveries for Fruit & Vegetables and then transforms to a customer friendly transition area during the trading day and does it all in a safe secure way.

Point of Sale Storage in Sheds A, B, H & I – putting storage, including refrigeration, at the Trader’s stalls – “purpose built storage and refrigeration within fresh produce traders’ stalls.”

Queens Corner Building – this is a proposed building on Queen St at the Franklin St. end – “24 hour loading docks, dedicated storage for Queen Victoria Market Pty Ltd (the Company) operations and events, security control room, public amenities, including a Changing Places accessible toilet, and retail to activate the future public space.”

Council will consider these proposals on Tuesday night.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 15/9/2019

Good Samaritan - our photo shows a Trader chasing after a customer who had accidentally dropped $50 at their stall. Those of you who know “Auntie” will realise that “chasing” is not her forte but she got the job done. A very commendable act and great for customer sentiment.

It is all in the timing...... a Trader asks why we are having all this red tape, including discussion around licenses, bonds, and demerit points, coinciding with one of the darkest trading periods this decade. “Don’t they realise we are hurting?”

This Trader sees a bright side - “I’ll be able to tell my Grandchildren I traded through the 2019/20 recession.”

Another Trader says “I’m sick of all this recession talk. We are market Traders - we know there are going to be downturns and we need to prepare for them.” Then he admitted he hadn’t prepared for this one. Nice thought however.

Lost some stock? Traders in SBA report finding stock under adjoining containers on particularly windy days including one Trader who recovered a number of items from the car park.

Early call – it is only half way through the month but a Trader is predicting that Australia’s September Retail Sales figures will show a significant decline. You heard it here first.

A few Traders are delighted that QVM P/L is planning a smoking ban at our market.

A couple of weeks back we posted a Trader’s suggestion that barriers between containers in SBA should be removed so that we could add to the adventure of customers searching Melbourne’s newest laneway. This photo shows what they were talking about.

Ronnie Z has a big blackboard outside his caravan which announces the soup of the day. Ronnie will often chalk up the heading “Today’s Soup Is…” and then head off to the Fruit & Veg section for supplies. The blank space was too tempting for one of Ronnie’s neighbours. While he was away this neighbor chalked in a soup with most unappetizing ingredients. In fact it was so unsavory that it was quickly erased in case some wag put it on social media. We’ll let you speculate on the ingredients.

Have Your Say - click here.

QVM In The News - 15/9/2019

Smokers look set to be banned from lighting up in Bourke Street Mall, and the Queen Victoria Market could soon follow. The City of Melbourne has ...

Latest plans for Queen Victoria Market redevelopment revealed ... The QVM board wants 1000 dedicated parking spaces at the market — 500 at the ...

You Are Not Alone

The official RUOK day was this week but we want to talk about something related and it concerns a potential source of anxiety.

Business is bad. September is described by some as “Septic September” for very good reason. The really depressing thought is that it might only be you, and this can cause anxiety, but we can assure you that you are not alone.

Many Traders are describing current trading conditions as the worst in decades. We understand that one of our Trader Representatives actually gave out her takings at this week’s TRC meeting to illustrate the current downturn. So if you have days when you are only taking around $150, many other Traders are as well.

It is interesting that with the huge variety of stalls, merchandise, and target audiences, we will all generally experience similar sales levels on any given day. There are obviously some exceptions, but generally, your level of takings will be mirrored throughout the precinct.

So knowing that we are all experiencing similar conditions may make it a little easier to talk about the problem(s), discuss solutions and find some answers. Talking to your neighbours, Precinct Managers, and SBMS Mentors may be a good start.

Latest Retail News – 15/9/2019

Latest Retail News – 15/9/2019
1. Strandbags evolves to offer bigger, more engaging stores.
2. Australian designer brand, Zimmerman, opens 12th US store.
3. Relaxing pharmacy owner rules could lead to poorer care from chain operators.
4. Kathmandu joins “business as a force for good” movement.
5. R.M.Williams to open 18 stores in UK and US.
6. September business confidence particularly weak in retail.
7. Amazon launches home & garden store for Australia.
8. Zara’s shares fall as margins remain flat despite higher sales.

Thursday, 12 September 2019



Sunday, 8 September 2019

Heard Under The Sheds – 8/9/2019

Trading Hours are to be adjusted from 29th October and we understand that with the later start in the Upper Market casual stall allocations will be conducted at 8:00am instead of 7:15am.

The answers to our two historical questions in last week’s Heard Under The Sheds - The 100 year market celebrations were held on Queen St. adjacent to the toilet block, and the rent for a single stall in the Upper Market on a Sunday in 1978 was $15.

A customer has described Melbourne’s Spring weather as “just like Winter but with more rain.”

A Brisbane couple who arrived in shorts and T-shirts on Friday said they were loving Melbourne weather. They described Brisbane weather as boring and predictable. Here they experienced bright sunshine followed by cloudy rain all within 10 minutes and found it a real buzz. They seemed sane enough.

As a follow up to last week’s picture of a soccer match in C Shed, one Trader is suggesting the installation of a few basketball hoops perhaps even in occupied aisles so Traders could be active in quiet times. Sounds like a very healthy initiative.

Mug Shot – With one of their mates overseas on a sabbatical (a big shout out to Ivano), a group of Traders decided to send him a group photo just to say hello. We are not sure Ivano will find the result too welcoming.

Creative Idea: Michael Mallon. Photography: Sue Smith. Post Editing: Tony Pierrakos.

A Trader has asked us to remind everybody that, despite all the events going on Melbourne at the moment, the two quietest trading months of the year are September and February.

A Trader asks if some of his colleagues are expecting too much sales for the amount of stock they are holding. Stock to sales ratios vary from category to category in retailing but a factor of 4 could be considered a rough guide for the industry. So if you expect say $200,000 p.a. sales from your business you would need to be holding about $50,000 worth of stock?

One Trader says he is in two minds. His business mind says he wants as many interstate AFL teams to visit Melbourne as possible, but his sporting mind says the prospect of a Richmond/ Collingwood Grand Final has him salivating.

Have Your Say - click here.

9/9/2019 0408  Re: Mug Shot "That photo just makes you want to jump on the next flight back... ... ... " - Ivano

Some Interesting Retail Articles - 8/9/2019

The Real Reason Why Brick & Mortar Retailing Is Struggling.
“Aldi, Costco and soon Kaufland will eventually claim close to 20 per cent of the Australian supermarket market, most likely more. This will have nothing to do with ‘digital disruption’ – they are just better operators.

Myer Reports Modest Improvement.

Nordstrom To Accept Returns Purchased From Other Retailers.

What Went Wrong With Forever 21?

Concerns Over New SL License Documents

Leasing documents can be a nightmare to get through as some of our Traders are finding.

New SL Licenses are currently being distributed to Traders but trying to understand the clauses can be a daunting task. They have been written by accountants and lawyers (not used car salesmen as some would claim) and legal jargon can be very difficult to understand.

When a lawyer attempts to protect every possible difficulty that may arise in a lease or license, it often results in twisted expressions and sub clauses on sub clauses. By the time you have worked out what it all means you will probably wish you hadn’t started at all.

Licenses are legal documents and clearly you do need to understand your obligations before signing. There are some basics to check -
-     How long is the license?
-     What is the rent and any built in rent increases?
-     Is the permitted use appropriate for your product range?

Remember that there are protections for tenants in common law and in the many regulations that cover the retail industry.

Questions have been raised about this latest round of license documents at QVM. Apparently one clause states that leave can only be taken in one week blocks although Traders can take single day absences under an amendment introduced a few years back. We have also heard that some licences include a 3 months bond although Victraders has been advised that 3 months would not be applied to open stands.

It would appear that there are some issues that need to be worked through and hopefully these will be sorted soon.

The bottom line is, that if you are really concerned about a license provision then, ask for an explanation either from your Precinct Manager or within your circle of business advisers.

Latest Retail News – 8/9/2019

Latest Retail News – 8/9/2019
1. David Jones profit almost halves.
2. Swedish outdoors store, Fjallraven, opens Sydney shop.
3. Hudson Bay to sell US department store, Lord & Taylor.
4. Aussies spending more on fast food including easy cook home meals.
5. Retail Food Group profit halved.
6. Gerry Harvey says economic decline to get worse.
7. Radio Rentals to pay back $25m for questionable pricing.
8. Harvey Norman strategy to make stores more appealing.
9. Retail sales fell 0.1% in July.
10. Walmart to stop selling hand guns.
11. Bega invests in home delivery breakfast foods.
12. Myer reports “modest improvement” by reducing costs.
13. UK fashion brand, Karen Millen, shuts Australian operations.
14. CSIRO says food sector could become more valuable to Australia than mining.

QVM In The News - 8/9/2019

Hundreds of Queen Victoria Market traders are growing and innovating their small businesses after accessing expert business advice through the City ...
Market Juice For over 50 years our family has been selling fresh produce from Queen Victoria Market. In 2001, we started Market Juice from our stall ...

Monday, 2 September 2019

Heard Under The Sheds – 1/9/2019

A Trader has suggested a memory quiz for Traders seeking the new Trader Service Awards. To prove their longevity they would be asked historical market questions. An example might be “Where were the QVM 100 year celebrations held in 1978?” and “What was the Sunday rent in open stands in 1978?” Thanks to Neil MacDonald for this proposal.

Rumours that 2 more Traders from the Upper Market are planning on hanging up their market boots soon. Both have normal wage jobs lined up.

A Trader reports that he was delayed by a customer after closing time on Friday, more followed, and he did a good bit of business before closing an hour later. He is under no illusions (when you are the only trader still open you will likely get business), but after a quiet day, the surge at the end was most welcome.

A Trader has suggested that rather than place barriers between containers in SBA we should encourage customers to walk between containers and add to the whole “exploring a city alleyway” feeling.

Night Market Weather – A Trader says Night market seems to be charmed with good weather even in winter. Traders have commented on the willingness of Melbournians to come out even when weather forecasts look dire. This week might have been our worst weather for the season with a very bleak forecast earlier in the week and a significant downpour at the start of the evening. The crowd was still significant.

Passenger Vacuum – Friday’s tram strike appeared to have a severe effect on customer numbers at the market. A customer who walked from Flinders St. during the strike said that there was a huge crowd down around Flinders St. but numbers dwindled as she walked up to the market.

Passenger  Opportunity - The temporary bus depot established at nearby Flagstaff Gardens over the weekend while the City Loop was closed didn’t create the hoped for rush of travellers at the market. One Trader said he visited the area at about 2:30 on Sunday and there were only 2 buses in transit and no more than 5-6 passengers at each pick-up point.

A Trader says there is definitely a good use for C Shed - 5 children of stall holders, a couple of cardboard box “goals” and a soccer ball all combine for some real action.

The QVM sausage sizzle in Queen St. on Sunday was apparently quite well patronised. Proceeds went to the Prostate Cancer Foundation with at least two Traders paying $20 for their sausage and refusing the change.

Bad (but irresistible) Joke of the Week - "Why did the super model insist on learning trapeze? She wanted to get into high fashion."

Sunday, 1 September 2019

The Huge Challenges We Face In Marketing A Market

Planning a yearly marketing campaign used to be quite easy. Plan for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas and your job was pretty much done, but that has all changed.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are no longer the big sales events they used to be. Somehow they have drifted into background and even Christmas is a pale representation of what happened as recently as 10 years ago.

So how do we plan our campaigns now and what are the kicker events that are likely to give us the regular sales boosts we so badly need for retail survival? If customers are not inspired by traditional sales events like Father’s Day they are inspired by entertainment and fresh new concepts. And targeting customers can make a lot of sense.

Special events in a city the size of Melbourne can draw huge crowds. 55,000 fans at marvel Stadium is potentially a great source of business. Last week’s Boomers/USA basketball match is an example when the city was dominated by basketball fans. Any Pink concert and sporting events like State of Origin Rugby League seem to bring us a blip in sales. Then there are the growing number of pop culture events like e-gaming, comic festivals, and technology shows.

We know that many visitors to Melbourne visit our market but targeting specific fan groups when they arrive would seem to make a lot of sense. Out photo shows a group of Storm Troopers. Imagine those wandering the market during a Star Wars or related pop culture event. Add in that amazing music structure suspended from the ceiling in RK-RL booming out the Star Wars theme and the entertainment starts to make sense.

The retail world is in revolution. The industry has been thrown up in the air with a whole lot of new demands and expectations placed upon it. It has been broadened by the new ways that customers have to search for goods and there are new priorities in spending. Finding new and exciting ways to entertain customers is a big challenge. Now where is my Darth Vader mask?

By Greg Smith (with thanks to Kris Robinson)

Latest Retail News – 1/9/2019

Latest Retail News – 1/9/2019
1. Adairs profit slips
2. Woolworths expands its quiet time offer for sensory challenged customers.
3. Nestle expands its plant based meat range in Europe.
4. City of Melbourne business grants open for application.
5. K-Mart earnings drop while Bunnings and Officeworks show online improvement.
6. Petrol companies report reduced profit on back of lower consumer demand.
7. David Jones to enter convenience store industry with BP.
8. Caltex to get rid of 50 sites as it tackles costs.
9. Noni B considers re-brand.
10. Nestle to shut Victorian factory.
11. Woolworths full year profit up 7.2% but Big W continues to struggle.
12. Three quarters of grocery shoppers rank ethical brand behaviour among their top three priorities.
13. Kaufland confirms 2 more sites in Victoria.
14. Heinekin to launch Australia’s first beer drive through.
15. David Jones profit down 50% in full year 2019.

QVM In The News - 1/9/2019

They have been serving their famous 'brats' for over twenty years at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market. Their very own 'wurst' is made to their own ...
Queen Victoria Market's (QVM) go-to man for milk, eggs and honey Luke Graczyk has been providing locals with the essentials for more than 10 years.
Wednesday nights at Queen Victoria Market (QVM) will continue to be a Melbourne hotspot for food and entertainment, with the springtime return of ...
Security upgrades at Federation Square, Southbank Promenade, Southern Cross Station, the State Library, Queen Victoria Market and Olympic ...
Modest fashion initiative Mod Markit is partnering with Melbourne Fashion Week to set up a thrift market for pre-loved pieces at Queen Victoria Market.
Stan Liacos runs one of the greatest icons in Melbourne, the 141-year-old Queen Victoria Market. Here he discusses what it's like maintaining the ...

David Jones And BP To Transform Convenience Retailing

David Jones and BP are to join forces in a major innovation for the convenience store industry.

They will offer up-market food items from select BP sites in Melbourne and Sydney. The intent is to take advantage of changing food habits as consumers seek more than the traditional hot dog and Coke offer from service stations.

Consumers are changing from a regular 3 meal a day food pattern to an on-demand and more flexible offer that will enable them to accommodate hectic lifestyles. Quality food to eat now or eat later is a new driving force.

Combining David Jones reputation for quality food with a leader in the convenience store sector would seem to make a lot of sense.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Heard Under The Sheds – 25/8/2019

From our joking Trader – “A farmer goes to the Royal Show and bumps into a chicken. They strike up a conversation and the farmer asks what the chicken is doing there. The chicken says “I’m a judge.” “What, in poultry?” says the farmer. “Yes, of course in poultry. I’m considered an eggspert.”

It was early Saturday morning and a Trader was seen in the car park leaning against his car. He was asked if he needed any help. “No”, he replied. “I’ve just checked inside the market and the huge number of vacancies has me wondering if it is worth setting up.” He did and it wasn’t. And no, that is not a joke.

One of our Traders attended the Boomers/USA basketball match on Thursday night and says the media has gone haywire with their criticism. He found the game an absolute hit with great quality basketball, great entertainment and a very worthwhile event.

A Trader is asking where all the tourists have gone. The tourism stats in last week’s Trader’s Bulletin confirmed that interstate visitation was down but apart from what she described as “$5 T-shirt buyers” there appears to be a remarkable absence of overseas tourists. Maybe that is because our hotels are full of basketball fans this weekend?

Back in 1981, Billy Field released a very successful song in Australia called “You Weren’t In Love With Me” which contained the lyrics “Blind Freddy knew that, a blind man could see, I was in love with you, but you weren't in love with me.” On Saturday morning Traders in L Shed were treated to a singalong of that song by crooners Guru Pete and Michael Mallon, and maybe, just maybe, a cover is in the offering.

A Trader said that Friday was one of those days when the longest discussion he had with a customer involved directions to the nearest ATM.

A member of staff has suggested that every Trader could be given a handbell to ring after each sale. It would certainly create some theatre and buzz around the market. We know of a chain of restaurants that gets customers to ring a bell as they leave, so the idea has been around.

A Trader has suggested that a pop-up basketball gear stall may have been a good idea over the weekend to take advantage of all the fans in Melbourne for the big Boomers v USA match. 

A Trader asks when our new trading hours will come into operation and the answer is that a date will be advised as soon as discussions with individual leaseholders are completed which is expected to take a couple of weeks.

The wife of one of our many husband/wife teams at QVM was asked if she was going to give hubby a day off for Father’s Day next Sunday. Her response left little room for doubt - “Fat chance”.

Have Your Say - click here.

Entertaining The Customer

Traders Demand A Wage Rise

Traders are demanding a wage rise, not for themselves, but for the millions of Australian workers who are suffering very poor wage growth, and the idea has support from high up in government circles.

“My view is that a further pick-up in wages growth is both affordable and desirable.”- RBA Governor Philip Lowe

The Reserve Bank Governor, Phillip Lowe, has warned of the dangers of low wages growth and the inability to reach adequate inflation figures as we struggle to control our economy.

Wages growth nationally, which averaged closer to 4 per cent prior to 2008, has now been at or below 2.5 per cent for almost five years.

According to the ABC, “The low wage outcomes are a big factor in the RBA continually undershooting its inflation target. It also puts a brake on household consumption and ultimately the entire economy.” And further commented – “While the RBA's cuts to its GDP growth and unemployment forecasts last week gained most attention, household consumption growth was also pruned back from 2 per cent this year to just 1.5 per cent — not exactly great news for struggling retailers.”

The expectation is that wages growth will give consumers more buying power and stimulate the economy. If that happens, Trader’s own wages might see a boost.

RMIT Interns Making Real Improvements to Trader’s Website

Our photo shows RMIT Interns Shantelle-Ann (L) and Christian (R) who are assisting Trader, Greg Smith, update his business website through the QVM - SBMS mentoring program.

Shantelle-Ann is a Journalist and she is working on stories to better inform viewers and customers. She is compiling questions related to key aspects of the business and then researching responses which will be added to a blog component on the website. Stories will involve products that perhaps are not fully understood by the public but have interesting history, uses, and benefits. The idea is to inform and entertain, and generally make the website more attractive to potential customers.

Christian is skilled in web development and he is upgrading a rather old fashioned website presentation into something more dynamic, more interesting, and easier for customers to navigate. His aim is to keep it simple (not too many products to confuse customers) but essentially to make it easier to navigate the site, make a choice, and press that all-important “buy” button or alternatively direct customers to the market.

This liaison with RMIT interns and students is part of the QVM-SBMS mentoring program to assist Traders through retail change at QVM.

By Greg Smith

Latest Retail News – 25/8/2019

Latest Retail News – 25/8/2019
1. Ikea commits to smart home products.
2. Private label boosts Kogan profit.
3. Beacon Lighting misses profit forecasts.
4. Vinomofo launches on-demand wine delivery with Deliveroo and UberEats.
5. Domino’s profit falls.
6. Lego announces first Victorian store at Westfield Doncaster.
7. Coles profit drops but online and own-brand show promise.
8. Reject Shop posts $16.9m loss in FY2019.
9. David Jones launches new womenswear range.
10. Flight Centre says Australian travel market flat.

QVM In The News - 25/8/2019

In its second year, Hawker 88 Night Market is bringing Asian street food back to Queen Victoria Market. On Wednesday nights this spring, more than ...
The pair initially sold their garments online before opening their first bricks-and-mortar store at the Queen Victoria Market in June this year. The shop ...
If you haven't heard yet, there's a new kid on the block at the Queen Victoria Market. String Bean Alley is Melbourne's newest laneway, lined by ...
Hawker 88 Night Market
The Hawker 88 Night Market brings the sights, sounds and tastes of Asia to Queen Vic Market this spring.
After trading for over 140 years, Melbourne's landmark Queen Victoria Markets (QVM) is making an effort to encourage new and existing customers by ...

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Heard Under The Sheds – 18/8/2019

Following our article a couple of weeks back about sourcing goods overseas, one of our Traders reports that he was forced to go to China to source some key products when local suppliers stopped importing. The local suppliers were responding to the general downturn in business, and by-passing them to go direct to the source has worked out well for this Trader.

There is a rumour that the Summer Night Market footprint may not include F Shed Traders this year. Keeping the Night Market full and busy adds to a successful atmosphere but it would be unfortunate if fewer Traders were exposed to the Night Market opportunity.

The media reaction to our new food delivery service has been huge with multiple articles across the traditional and social media spectrum. One Trader observes that there is now equally huge pressure to get this right. He hopes the Traders who participate are well prepared.

With seemingly bad news on TV and in the papers all the time at the moment, one of our Traders says he has a new daily resolution – get all his customers to leave with a smile.

You will be pleased to know that Spring is in the air according to one of our market experts. Guru Pete says the bees have started buzzing around the planter boxes and Pete is always right.

Apparently a group of Traders have incorporated “Chocolate Day” into their working week. They take it in turns to buy and share a couple of blocks from the Melbourne Cocoa Company in String Bean Alley.

And to the Trader who said we wouldn’t publish his joke – “What vehicle does a sheep drive – a utility.”

A Trader says the news in the latest Trader Bulletin that Chinese tourists are now more likely to shop individually instead of through shopping groups is very positive. Tourists being siphoned off to over-priced souvenir warehouses is hopefully on its way out.

Traders Encouraged To Take The Plunge

A combination of changing customer preferences, competition, and financial realities is encouraging many Traders to take the plunge and change their trading arrangements.

Changed trading arrangements may involve giving up days, down-sizing, or moving stalls. It makes sense to cut out the unprofitable aspects of your business and experiment with new arrangements. For some Traders this is a cause of anxiety, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Reacting to changed trading conditions is a smart move and can have significant financial and emotional benefits. In times of great change flexibility is important, and most changes can be reversed when things improve. Some PE Traders have expressed concern about giving up stalls but giving up a stall doesn’t change your trader status. Stalls or trading days can be added down the track.

If you find there are days that are just not worth trading at present, talk to your Precinct Manager and find out your options. You may be surprised at how easy the process is. Ultimately we all want happy profitable traders who are best prepared for difficult trading conditions. Trading at QVM has inherent flexibility and it makes good sense to use that flexibility to enhance our profitability particularly in tough times.