Sunday 26 January 2020

Heard Under the Sheds – 26/1/2020

One of our Traders had nothing but praise for security staff at Wednesday’s Night Market. A staffer suspected a man had stolen a $10 item from the stall and asked a member of the cleaning staff to contact security through the walkie talkie. Security attended, located the man at a neighbouring stall and examined his carry bag. Amongst items taken from other stalls was $35 worth from our Trader’s stall. He was impressed with the level of professionalism shown by security staff and happy to have the goods returned.

When you have a birthday and your fellow Trader’s arrange a birthday cake, it is pretty special. And don’t worry Ronnie, we won’t tell anyone your age.

A Trader reports that the Australian Open Tennis beats all other events for variety in nationalities. Melbourne truly becomes a global city.

One Trader was hoping to learn how to say Happy New Year in Chinese but after some uncomfortable attempts opted for a printed leaflet with the appropriate message.

Wednesday Night's Market was once again subject to weather warnings but the rain stayed away until 8:30 pm so most Traders improved on the previous week.

Do our artists and graphic art sellers have some new competition at QVM? This colourful range was created by children enjoying school holiday entertainment on Queen St on Sunday.

After a particularly quiet trading day on Saturday Michael M has a polite message for the 88% of Traders who voted to extend trading hours – “What the hell is the matter with you!!!!”

A Trader tells us that Sunday's untidiest stall on Queen St (Twisto) has been absolutely transformed with an impressive new silver van.

Apparently some graffiti artists managed to adorn the rear of the Franklin St. stores above the roof line on Saturday night. One Trader suggested they had actually improved the look of the buildings while another asked if Guru Pete would be climbing a ladder to do the cleaning. Pete gave the expected response.

Our bad (but irresistible) joke of the week – At court last week, the accused was flat on his back on the floor. The plaintiff said “Your Honour –I object, he’s lying!!!!”

A Trader was very excited to read that Rock Lobster from WA’s biggest exporter had dropped from $105 per kilo to $0, until someone pointed out that the price meant the fishermen had stopped harvesting because of the Coronavirus in China. Apparently Chinese New Year is one of the biggest occasions for lobster consumption but the virus has put a dampener on celebrations.

The One Thing Certain In Retail Right Now

The one thing that is certain in retailing right now is uncertainty. The ups and downs, particularly of consumer sentiment, are creating an uncertain business environment for all retailers, including market Traders. But there are upsides.

It is difficult to get guarantees on anything to do with trading and certainly the customers, employees, owners, and suppliers of the likes of Harris Scarfe, Jeans West, Bardot, and many others, would love to have had some guarantees of stability. The reality is that there are few guarantees in the middle of a retail revolution.

So what are the upsides? Well, perhaps the biggest one is opportunity. In the share market, a good time to consider buying is when a market correction is going on. Getting in to retail right now could be good timing if you are committed to the industry, happy to look long term, keen to learn from emerging trends, and wise enough to pick on categories with potential.

When an industry is shaken up it creates opportunities for those ready to meet changing needs. Reading the signs, experimenting, adapting to change, are all qualities most likely to succeed. If you view these conditions with fear then the future may be difficult. If you see them as opportunities then retailing may become the exciting challenge that many of us have experienced in the past.

There is a lot of advice out there about what to do. Just this week a retail commentator suggested retailers needed to look for supplementary sources of income related to their business. Tide, the US detergent brand recently created a chain of dry cleaners, while toymaker Lego has invested in the movie industry. How that translates to smaller businesses may well be worth some thinking power and perhaps a subject for a future SBMS information session.

One of our own Traders this week said she believed the future lay in imparting vision to customers. She talked about attaching value to products through creative design and merchandising. By creating products with a story and connecting with the customer we could transform boring product purchasing into an entertaining experience.

And finally, an article in Power Retail this week about the future of retailing contained the line – “We’re living in tough times – there is plenty of uncertainty. But with patience, and the willingness to adapt, we won’t see the end of retail, we’ll just see it changing.”

By Greg Smith

Consumer Law Workshop At Trader Lounge

There have been many amendments to consumer laws in recent years and understanding your obligations (and your customers obligations) becomes an imperative if you are to avoid difficult exchanges.

Do you know the rights of your customers and your obligations to them?  

Do you understand Consumer Guarantees and Rights under Australian Consumer Law? 

A Consumer Law Workshop is to be held at the Trader Lounge on Wednesday 19th February and facilitated by Sally Lawrence, SBMS Business Mentor, Master in Business
Law, Employment Law and Consumer Law, Contract Law & Governance. Sally
is an experienced mentor and coach who understands that business can be both extremely rewarding and extremely challenging.

Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday 19th February
Venue: Trader Lounge Boardroom
Time:  11am to 1pm with a light lunch provided.

Registration is required for catering purposes.
RSVP: by 13th February 2020.

Register on line at

Latest Retail News – 26/1/2020

Latest Retail News – 26/1/2020
1. UK supermarket experiments with no packaging refills for breakfast cereals.
2. Nestle adds plant based sausages to range.
3. Super Retail Group (BCF, Supercheap Auto, Rebel) says December sales impacted by drought and bushfires.
4. Self-scan checkouts could impact on Australian employment opportunities.
5. Deloittes says Australian economy set to muddle through another year.
6. Woolworths offers discounts to emergency service volunteers.
7. Rain lifts consumer confidence.
8. Fruit and vegetable supplier Costa Group is introducing a Click and Collect service for its retail and wholesale customers.
9. Amazon Australia to introduce independent delivery service similar to Uber Eats.
10. Aussie born Mexican food franchise Guzmen Y Gomez launches in US.
11. Kaufland shocks with decision to pull out of Australia despite already investing $500m.
12. Louis Vuitton inks multi-year marketing deal with US Basketball.
13. ACCC investigates alleged supplier cartels attempting to keep Kaufland out of Australia.
14. Woolworths nominated as Australia’s most valuable brand.
15. Jeans West closing 37 stores.
16. Dimmeys expect to keep 12 company owned stores operating.

Articles Worth A Read:

Boring retail killed Jeans West -

Bushfires send consumer confidence lower -

Supplementing sales revenue will become the key to survival for retailers -

QVM In The News - 26/1/2020

Plans to restore Queen Victoria Market's iconic sheds have been given the green light after a previous controversial proposal was rejected.
SUMMER in Melbourne and regional Victoria is worth spent outdoor, ... Queen Victoria Market's 141-year old heritage houses a wide range of ...
By Sean Car,. An analysis of the community engagement for the future community space on the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) carpark has revealed a ...
His business Melbourne Bushfood has recently arrived in the organics section at Queen Victoria Market (QVM), adding to the market's already diverse ...
Maximum Chips will be located at Shed X, Queen Victoria Market. Mark out your calendars for Friday the 20th of March 20 - starting at 5 PM and ...
Peel St between Dudley St roundabout and Victoria St. ... Traders at Queen Victoria Market made a formal request to reduce the speed limit more than ...
Fire has broken out at an abandoned lolly shop near Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market. It took 30 firefighters about half-an-hour to bring the blaze at ...
Often at the market you'll see buckets of heads that don't get put to good use at ... Held at the Queen Victoria Market over both weekends of the festival.

Sunday 19 January 2020

Heard Under The Sheds - 19/1/2020

Many Traders are expressing concern that dramatic bush fire footage shown overseas is deterring visitors. The Governments announced on Saturday that it will spend $76m to lure overseas tourists back to Australia after the bush fires.

A couple of Traders were discussing the business potential of selling face masks as a number of major retailers reported they had sold out of the popular P2 masks following smoke haze warnings. Options could include colour variations, indigenous designs, personalised face masks, and even one with the QVM logo.

The coolest spot in the market - aside from dedicated cool rooms, we have it on good authority that this bench at the top carpark walkway is most likely to receive a cooling breeze, even on still days. The good authority? - someone who regularly visits every precinct of our market in his daily duties.

Wednesday night’s Market was drastically impacted by weather with many Traders reporting a small crowd and little business. The weather forecast for thunderstorms and potentially damaging hail was enough to put off visitors. The actual weather on the night wasn’t too destructive although wind-blown rain caused problems for exposed Traders. We understand that South Melbourne market canceled its Wednesday night market because of threatening weather.

A Trader was contemplating a tennis related display that might appeal to all the Australian Open fans in town. Tennis balls dangling from the roof didn’t really appeal although he said he had been known to throw a tantrum or two and wondered if that would be appropriate.

The latest smoke haze health policy has one Trader wondering why 65 year olds get special leave (i.e. not deducted from leave days) when extreme heat endangers health but not when poor air quality endangers health. Maybe one for the TRC to take up?

Some good reports from Wednesday’s presentation at the Trader’s Hub about selling your market business. Apparently Denise Hall’s presentation was full of useful information with clear guidance on how to prepare your business for sale. A number of participants agreed that Market Traders need to be a lot more professional about this aspect of business and that pre-planning, perhaps over years, is the key to getting a good result.

This week's joke - "You know what they say: If you've seen one retail job,

then you've seen the mall."

Two Traders were discussing the trials of tackling Melbourne's traffic at the moment coming to and from the market. They agreed that the pain would be bearable if we could just make the time between arriving and departing a little more interesting and a lot more profitable.

The Importance Of The TRC And Why You Need To Nominate

The deadline for nominations for the Trader Representative Committee has been extended which may mean there has been lack of interest from Traders but clearly there has never been a more important time for this body to achieve some results through competent representation.

The retail revolution is carving its way through the old ways of retailing and new considerations for trading are arriving at a bewildering rate. Some very significant decisions have come out of the TRC in recent times with new trading hours probably at the top of the list.

This week there have been a few questions under the sheds -

Does The TRC Really Achieve Anything? -  It is unfortunate that this question is commonly asked but communication out of the TRC is rather poor. Traders rarely find out what has been discussed. However we are told that most important decisions about our market are put before the TRC in some way.

Do They (Management) Ever Really Listen? - This is a cop out from Traders who are looking for excuses not to get involved. A good representative will make argument that has to be listened to, and then follow up with questions that can’t be ignored. Facts, clear argument, and persistence are the key here.

I Don’t Have The Time To Be A Representative – Actually we are told this role doesn’t take much time. Meetings are probably monthly and most of the work is done within the actual meeting. Some issues will require discussion with your neighbours but if there is more research to be done, you simply ask for time and assistance.

Isn’t It A Lot Of Responsibility? – The TRC is an advisory committee. You offer your experience as a Trader to advise other Traders and Management about matters affecting trading. Decisions will not always have universal acceptance. That is the nature of decision making. But good, considered input, and respect for all points of view, is all that can be asked of any representative.

How Does The Selection Process Work? – Traders need to nominate themselves and an updated committee of 16 is made up of representatives from different market areas. (see chart below) To allow greater flexibility in representation of the open sheds, TRC representatives will be elected according to their trading format rather than the specific shed(s) they trade from. For example, there will now be five traders representing specialty shopping in the open sheds broadly. If there are more nominations than positions available in any one area, an election will be held.

What Now? – Traders need competent representatives to assist in the changing future of market trading. Traders are generally good at being individual business people but sometimes it is teamwork that really counts. Working well with fellow Traders and Management can produce results to benefit everyone. If you feel you can make a contribution please visit F1 for a nomination form or talk to your Precinct Manager.

By Greg Smith

Trader Seeks Forum To Re-organise The Upper Market

A Trader has written to us about the need to re-organise the Specialty Merchandise area of QVM.

He says “The Fresh Food Market is very well organised, logical, and makes shopping easy and attractive to customers. There are designated aisles for fresh fruit and vegetables, deli, meat &fish, and a large number of competing traders offering the greatest variety of goods to customers at the most competitive prices.”

“How different is the Specialty shop area!!!!!! It’s a total disaster. Everything in this area is made for customers to have the worst shopping experience. No system, no logic. Customers are just dragging themselves from aisle to aisle until they get totally exhausted and disenchanted and just leave without buying anything.”

“How do we rectify this?”

“In my opinion there has to be a forum which must have proper representation from QVM Management and Traders as well as customers to the work required.

As a quick band aid solution I would recommend:
- to put a printed Trader Directory together and add it to the QVM website. Hard copies could be made available at the Visitor Centre.
- to create a printed version of the existing QVM website to be distributed to customers to have some vague idea about what merchandise they can shop for.
- a proper action plan needs to be put together to completely restructure the speciality shop area and re-engineer its perception from a Trash and Treasure Market and turn it into Melbourne’s Best Value Shipping Outlet, which it could be.”

20/1/2020 1934 - "I totally disagree with the comment that the specialty section of the market is a total disaster. QVM is a market it is not a shopping mall and people come to look around an operating market, enjoy the atmosphere, and talk and joke with the stallholders and, contrary to what some stall holders think, don't even notice the storage boxes etc that are part of the market. Many, many times I have heard people on Peel street on the top of sb alley or L shed talking among themselves asking "where shall we explore first" or "which aisle will we go down first" obviously looking forward to an adventure to possibly see what bargains they can find. With about 70% of our customers tourists from both intrastate, interstate and overseas we find that the majority did not come to the market to buy a particular thing but, as I said before, to look around the great Vic market and enjoy the atmosphere. I shall remain anonymous as did the author of the original comment."
Thank you for your contribution.  There is much to be said for QVM as an adventure - Ed

Latest Retail News – 19/1/2020

Latest Retail News – 19/1/2020
1. Aldi extends paid leave for fire fighters.
2. University Co-op’s 63 Curious Planet stores to close.
3. Study says shorter working days more practical than long weekends. (see below)
4. Amazon looks at push into pharmaceutical retail.
5. Woolworths takes largest share of fresh meat market, followed by Coles, butchers, and Aldi.
6. Jeans West enters voluntary administration with future of 146 stores uncertain.
7. Myer cuts another 35 executive roles.
8. Electronics retailer, Bose, to close its 19 Australian stores.
9. Government to spend $76m to bring tourists to Australia after bushfires.
10. Buy now, pay later creeps into fresh food retailing. (see below)

Articles Worth Reading:
Shorter Working Days Better Than Long Weekends -

Why Every Company Needs A Chief Fun Officer -

Jeans West Collapses -

Employers Obligations With Smokey Air -

Bushfire Recovery Package For Australian Tourism -

Buy Now, Pay Later Shifts Into Food And That Is A Worry -

QVM In The News - 19/01/2020

Melbourne City Council is considering ideas for the proposed Market Square on the site of the main carpark at Queen Victoria Market. The carpark ...
... have been charged in relation to a series of thefts on unsuspecting public transport users and shoppers at the Queen Victoria Market during the past ...
A Melbourne City Council plan to build a skyscraper to help fund the $250 million Queen Victoria Market redevelopment faces stiff opposition from ...
... the “sneaky” and “slick” thefts in crowded places such as the Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne Central shopping centre and the Queen Victoria Market.
At Queen Victoria Market, installation of steel bollards along Peel and Elizabeth streets and at the corner of Therry and Elizabeth streets were also ...
... which has seen similar safety measures installed at Flinders Street station, Princes Street Bridge, the Queen Victoria Market and Bourke Street mall.
Victoria's CFA, Australian Red Cross, and WIRES Wildlife Rescue. ... Many traders at the iconic Queen Vic Market will be donating in their own way.
Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Queen Victoria Markets, the largest ... market to head towards the South Melbourne market and enjoy dimsums or ...

Sunday 12 January 2020

Heard Under The Sheds – 12/1/2020

Businesses for sale – a number of market businesses have popped up on Gumtree this week including Viva La Calavera and Nautical Replicas in String Bean Alley, and a children’s clothing business in J Shed. More are expected to follow.

L Shed and String Bean Alley traded for the first time on a Thursday this week and reports were mixed on the day. Although a number of Traders said that Thursday sales looked better after a very quiet Friday. Management confirmed that it will take some time for the precinct to become fully populated on Thursdays.

Healthy Working Environment for Traders – one trader applauds the no smoking ban but asks if management can now turn their attention to protecting Traders on extremely hot and stuffy days. We are wondering if the following photo might show a solution.

Perhaps Pete’s water mister could also be used to put out cigarettes.

Smoking ban – with customers exempt from the smoking ban until City Council activates a city wide ban, a Trader asks if buying a cup of coffee from a market outlet makes him a customer at least for long enough to have a smoke. Traders can be very creative with their questions.

Paper Carry Bags 1 - A Trader reports that he has embraced the paper carry bag option from QVM’s F1 shop because they are cost effective and a lot more convenient than travelling to his bag wholesaler.

Paper Carry Bags 2 – another Trader says he personalises the QVM carry bag with his own colourful tag that attaches to the bag handle and doubles as a business card.

You won’t believe it, but it is true – a customer returned a pair of ear rings to a Trader this week asking for a refund because she had only experienced bad luck since purchasing them. The Trader wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry but in a tick for customer service excellence, agreed to a refund. The Trader’s neighbour suggested a more appropriate response might have been “I can see what you mean by bad luck, because guess what – we don’t give refunds!”

Power outage – a high truck managed to tangle with overhead tram wires at the Dudley St. roundabout on Friday and bring down live cables all along Peel St. adjacent to the market. The tangle of wires caused traffic mayhem. Early reports that Ronnie had caused the outage by turning on three juicers in his van at once proved incorrect.

Have Your Say - click here.

More Work Needs More Work

The push for more hours and more customer convenience can have downsides and SBA Traders are starting to feel the pinch.

Traders in String Bean Alley started regular trading on a Thursday from this week. This is all part of a plan to bring SBA trading in line with the rest of the market. Tuesday trading is to start later in July, but a number of SBA Traders have asked for a stay of execution.

The problem is that while the rest of the Upper Market trades 5 days, individual Traders can choose whether or not to trade, but in permanent containers there really isn’t a choice. If SBA is open then all participants are expected to trade.

And many SBA Traders are unique - they are manufacturing Traders. SBA is an aisle focusing on small artisan type manufacturing businesses. The problem here is that manufacturing requires workshop time and Traders can’t be in two places at once. Five days trading plus a night market doesn’t leave much time for manufacturing.

Of course it is possible to staff a container and this was the issue faced in shopping centres in the past when they went to 7 days trading and were forced to roster staff. But turning over hundreds of thousands of dollars in a shopping centre gives you a lot more financial flexibility than most market traders enjoy, certainly in the Upper Market.

QVM’s push for more hours is understandable. Customer convenience is a prime driver in this retail revolution and customers are demanding more access. And of course QVM earn their income mainly from rent. They would be neglecting their corporate responsibility if they didn’t look to maximise new rental opportunities.

So we have a push for more hours which will increase the pressure on small manufacturing businesses. At least two manufacturing businesses in SBA do staff their containers already to create manufacturing flexibility although that is not necessarily feasible for all Traders.

Thursday trading is new for SBA and adjoining L Shed. Clearly it will take time to get the precinct fully populated and operating to maximum potential. Maybe the answer is to put a hold on the introduction of Tuesday trading until Traders are able to properly work out what that potential is.

By Greg Smith.

Selling A Business Workshop

LAST CALL FOR SBMSQ & A Session – Selling a Business” to be held 11am Wednesday 15th January 2020 in the Trader Lounge.  A light lunch will be provided.  Registration is required for catering purposes at

If you are thinking of selling in the next year….
Come along to a Q & A Session
On Wednesday 15th January 2020

More than 50% of Exits are INVOLUNTARY.
More than 70% of Business Owners have NOT THOUGHT ABOUT IT = no exit strategy.

Without fully investigating the value that has been built up over all the years, you may be potentially throwing away all your blood, sweat and tears, and not-to-mention, your hard-fought time and hard-earned money, for nothing.

Is your business in good shape for sale?

This is your opportunity to ask any questions about selling your business, for example, how do I work out what my business may be worth? (Don't forget to write down your questions before the event). Denise can help you facilitate freedom from your Business no longer serving your purpose with strictly confidential SBMS mentoring.

Date: Wednesday 15th January 2020
Time: 11am - 1pm  Includes a light lunch
Venue: Board Room, Trader Lounge (266 Victoria Street)
*** Please note registration is required for catering.
RSVP  to, tel Madalen on 1300 631 171 or register online