Friday 30 November 2012

Latest Retail News – W/E 30/11/2012

Latest Retail News – W/E 30/11/2012

 1.      US consumers expected to spend $1.5 billion on Cyber Monday online sales.
2.      Sweden’s largest toy chain goes gender neutral with latest catalogue showing boys holding dolls and girls with guns.
3.      Colorado Shoe brand re-introduced at Williams The Shoemen, Mathers, and Myer.
4.      Clothing and footwear repairers expected to record above average sales growth 2012/2013.
5.      Gerry Harvey warns that many retailers will collapse post Christmas.
6.      Myer restricts “change of mind returns” to 30 days with receipt.
7.      Billabong introduces in-store on-line shopping.
8.      Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry reports small business confidence continues to decline.
9.      Darrell Lea revival continues as Coles stock the brand across its network.
10.  Greens parliamentarian pushes for more secure employment for casuals.
11.  Esprit raised A$645m as it plans for the future in Asia.
12.  Victoria’s Secret opens its 5th Australian store at Sydney’s Qantas domestic terminal.
13.  Commonwealth Bank predicts Australians will spend an average of $475 on Christmas gifts.
14.  Ikea introduce Klippbok, an app for iPad and desktop that allows customer interaction with product ideas.
15.  Westfield to launch “Super Saturday” sale across its centres on December 1st.
16.  Choice seeks Federal Parliamentary Enquiry into higher technology prices for Australians.
17.  North America’s oldest company, Hudson Bay Trading, goes public
18.  Allans, Billy Hyde bought by Australian Musical Imports with key stores to continue trading.
19.  JB Hi-Fi to launch new Home stores with emphasis on whitegoods.
20.  US’s largest online jeweller, Ice, launches Australian arm.
21.  Jetset Travelworld reports slow leisure market tourism growth.
22.  NAB reports Australian retailers share of online sales remains strong at 74%.

Never Sell A Bone To A Dog

Dogs know everything there is to know about bones, and if you try to sell them an inferior product or, your sales pitch shows you don’t understand the nuances of bone selection, you are doomed to failure.

In a more related sense, if you are in your business because it looked like a good way to make money, or you stumbled on a profitable source of supply, but you haven’t developed a true passion for the product, your customers will know, and your business will suffer. Equally, if you have the passion, but your staff doesn’t, your business will suffer.

How often do we see successful businesses fail under a new owner who was lured by the success of the business but didn’t have the passion that contributed to its success? The Queen Victoria market is not immune from this scenario. We have traders who are in business for reasons other than a true passion and commitment. We all suffer as a consequence.

Have Your Say - click here

Click Frenzy – The Positives

Click Frenzy is the web event that attempted to emulate the US Cyber Monday juggernaut with a massive online sale. Australia’s version has been labelled as a disaster despite some encouraging comments from high profile participants like Myer.

Basically, Click Frenzy expected 500,000 visitors to their site at one time but 2 million attempted to log on and the site crashed. There were some understandable reservations on how Australian consumers might react to an online event. The US has the luxury of a track record of successful Cyber Monday sales so they know what to expect. Their consumers come off a catalog mentality that goes back decades.
Australians haven’t yet embraced an online event of this magnitude although our high placing in technological take-ups should have been some indication to Click Frenzy organisers.
There is another big difference between the US event and our own. Retailers in the US start talking about their specials at least a week before the event. Shoppers are able to pre-shop before joining the sale on the day and, even though it is listed as a one-day sale, many retailers allow customers to take advantage of specials over a longer period. In Australia we simply announced an event with very little exposure to actual deals. Participants (or what turned out to be wanne-be participants) had to go in blind and look at everything at the last minute. No wonder there was overload.

Nevertheless, the consumer interest was encouraging and getting the capacity right could bode well for future events.

Shop For Sale In F Shed

A nut shop is for sale in F shed and the advertisement on gives a remarkably candid appraisal of the potential. Since the GFC there have been many articles written about food as the category most likely to survive the retail downturn. Traders may be interested in this opportunity to join the food “safety net”. The business is listed for sale at $67,000.

“Located in one of the most sought after areas in Victoria, this beautifully fitted out shop is ideally positioned in the heart of the Queen Victoria market. Situated in a corner spot of the middle isle within the heritage listed F shed of the queen Victoria market, this shop is well suited to attract all types of customers that pass through. With permission to sell snacks, dried fruit and gourmet nuts, as well as drinks you can hit the ground running selling all existing line items or if you have a killer idea you can re stock as you please (subject to market approval). The shop is fully fitted out with air conditioner, wash room, custom made display cabinets, cash register and electricity. This business is perfect for anyone who wants to tap into the huge customer traffic that goes through the market every day (estimated annual visitor traffic is around 9million people).
The shop is open every market day as well as every Wednesday night during the night market period (November - March) at no extra charge on the rent. Monthly rental including outgoings is approximately $3000 a month. The lease is for 5+5 years with 3 years into the first 5 years of the lease. We are selling the business as the owner has retired from the business at the start of this year.
Initial sales were around $2000 a week but have reduced to $1500 a week in the past year as the owner has retired and no one has been able to manage the business. The shop is in a great location and customers are abundant but it needs someone to manage it full-time to help increase the sales.”

30/11/2012 10:30:00 "Thanks to the trader who volunteered that he is already working with nuts at the market" - Ed

Sunday 25 November 2012

Latest Retail News – 23/11/2012

Latest Retail News – 23/11/2012

1.      Kathmandu sales exceed expectations with 20% rise over past 15 weeks.
2.      Country Road joins Myer and David Jones with first quarter sales rise.
3.      BuyAustralianMade Direct launches online site.
4.      Billabongs US chief contemplates business buyout.
5.      September consumer sales jumped but October falls leaving flat performance over past 5 months.
6.      No Frills generic brand returns to IGA supermarket shelves.
7.      Victoria’s Health Dept. to reduce red tape on red meat sales at farmer’s markets.
8.      Jewellery chain, Pandora, and food chain, Lenard’s Chicken win top ARA awards for 2012.
9.      David Jones reports record online sales on Click Frenzy Tuesday despite website meltdown.
10.  David Jones Chairman, Robert Savage confirms retirement.
11.  Woolworths sales up 4.3% for first quarter.
12. Click Frenzy website crashes at first launch.

What Is The Future For General Merchandise at QVM?

Friday’s radio broadcast from the QVM was intended to examine the market’s future and what needs to be done to ensure its prosperity. If you want to listen to the broadcast go here - and click on the Neil Mitchell show. After a few minutes of preamble you get straight into the interview with the Lord Mayor and then a discussion with Paul Guerra, Chairman of the QVM Board.

Much of the discussion covers issues that have been raised before but there are a few points to look at, including the Lord Mayor’s comment that the percentage of the market devoted to fresh food has been declining . He was at pains to point out that there will always be a place for General Merchandise but it is fairly obvious that current thinking is looking to expand the fresh food offering. The Lord Mayor said - “That’s not to say you get rid of General Merchandise, because there is absolutely a place for that as well but it has to be our premium fresh food market.”
This raises many questions.
-          Are there too many General Merchandise stalls?

-          Have GMT numbers been expanded to fill in the vacancies left by departing food stalls, and has that expansion been at the expense of a quality stall mix?

-          Local customers have an obvious food bias, but if you asked tourists, would they agree with this assessment?

-          Are General Merchandise Traders prepared to accept continued marketing neglect (lack of tourism promotion) while QVM prepares its future in food?

The most common question asked of Trader Representatives is “When are we going to get some results?” It is a fair question, and regrettably the whole process is still in consultation phase. In Friday’s broadcast, the Lord Mayor talked about a 7 – 10 year program. Waiting is a real problem.

We don’t need $110 million to start a significant tourist promotion program. Some of that $6 million annual contribution to the MCC would do fine. What about it Paul Guerra? What about it Robert Doyle? Does General Merchandise really have a place at QVM?

Have Your Say - click here.

27/11/2012 21:25:23  "Of course General Merchandise has a place at QVM !! but.... but I must say it is too repetitive. How do we alter what the QVM Office has allowed? Which stall are there too many of? Cheap end of the handbags?/two in each aisle!! Sports shoes? How many allowed?/ One possibly two per aisle!!Scarves and cheap jewelery combined there are at least 6 in ones hands./ Thats just ridiculous!! Australian souvenirs?/ two in every aisle!! My issue  with these is am I being unreasonable? Absolutely not!!
I know this situation is nuts! fix it,good luck! "

Friday 23 November 2012

Leah & Austin Charm Neil Mitchell

The high flyers were out in force for the special 3AW broadcast from QVM this morning with Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and QVM Chairman Paul Guerra having their say. But a special spot was held for Leah and Austin as they made their point in an innovative way (see photos).
Visuals aren't great on radio but Neil Mitchell handled the description of Austin's T-shirt very effectively and Leah was able to make some great points to the listening public on behalf of traders. Well done Leah!

24/11/2012 12:28:31 3 AW Broadcast " Well Done  Leah and Austin   The thing is we need to get people comfortably into the market and also easy to  exit  comfortable enough to stay awhile and shop (spend a lot) and that means improvements Customer Comfort should be high priority" Jill and alby    E Shed 

Thursday 22 November 2012

3AW's Neil Mitchell Broadcasts From QVM

Radio station 3AW is broadcasting from the market on Friday morning (23rd) and we understand there will be interviews with Melbourne's Lord Mayor and a number of traders.
The theme will be the future of the market and what needs to be done to improve it. This is all part of a broader media interest in the QVM over the last week with articles in the Age on Monday and Tuesday, a Channel 10 feature on Monday nights news, and a feature on Channel 7's news on Thursday evening. (click here for news feature)
The future of the market is big news although we are still in discussion stage, with the main issue in Channel 7s news, for instance, being the lack of information about what is actually planned.
Watch this space - and tune in to 3AW friday morning.

22/11/2012 19:56:28 3aw friday morning live at the market "Neil Mitchell will be interesting tomorrow morning ,Friday 23rd Nov.He starts at 830am outside I shed
stallholders this is a great OPPORTUNITY to have our say,publicly!! Please do so.He's been promoting the market as drab, but he says he has  no solution to revamp it,
do we have any ideas? You betcha!!"
 rosalie rockman  

 24/11/2012 12:28:31 3 AW Broadcast " Well Done  Leah and Austin   The thing is we need to get people comfortably into the market and also easy to  exit  comfortable enough to stay awhile and shop (spend a lot) and that means improvements Customer Comfort should be high priority" Jill and alby    E Shed                           

Tourist Watch – 22/11/2012

Tourist Watch – 22/11/2012

1.      Melbourne Music Week 16th-24th November.
2.      A-League – Melbourne Heart versus Newcastle Jets Saturday night at AAMI Park.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Click Frenzy Crashes

The much hyped equivalent to "Cyber Monday" has crashed in its first introduction to online Australian shoppers.

Click Frenzy is a joint effort by Australian retailers who are emulating the famous US event. The Click Frenzy website launched Tuesday evening and unfortunately crashed within minutes as demand from shoppers exceeded the capacity of the website.

David Jones, who are not part of Click Frenzy, attempted to hijack the event with their own specials launch on Tuesday afternoon but their site also crashed.

The lesson for Australian retailers is clear - customer demand is obviously there - just get the technology right to take advantage of it.

New Shop On Victoria St.

Melbournalia is a new shop in the Victoria St. precinct of the market. It is located at 155 Victoria St. and, according to Facebook, still in setup phase.

An interesting concept store that specialises in Melbourne made goods, and looks like a very worthwhile addition to our mix.

Checkout their website here -

Victorian Tourism Awards 2012

The Suzuki Night Market was the winner in the Festivals & Events category in this years Victorian Tourism Awards while The Queen Victoria Market was a finalist in the Herald Sun Award for Tourist Attactions.

Revamp Of Victoria Market - Age Article

Monday mornings article in the Age is an interesting one, and gives a bit of an overview of where we sit in the market's re-development process.

Much of what is written has been aired before although a reference to a possible re-introduction of a wholesale fruit & vegetable market at QVM is new to us.

The Age lists the following possible options:

 A multi-level car park under the existing heritage-listed ‘‘top’’ sheds requiring relocation and return of heritage-listed sheds.

Transformation of the existing ground-level car park for a park or plaza.

New, long-awaited storage, washing and cooling facilities for traders.

Reconfiguration of roads around the market.

A new wholesale fruit and vegetable precinct to capture some of the trade when the current wholesale market at Footscray closes (the new wholesale market is also opening at Epping).

Extended market trading hours and a greater variety of restaurants, cafes  and entertainment.

This issue is certainly hotting up. Trader Representatives have been approached by various media people over the last week, and we can expect the QVM to be in the news.

On the question of media liaison, we should point out that your Trader Representatives adopt a very low key approach. We do not wish to ignore media people trying to do their jobs but, in an attempt to control "the uncontrollable", we ask any media outlet to submit questions in writing, and we are happy to respond in writing.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Traders Receive Questions From Channel 10

In our previous post we mentioned our practice of asking media outlets for written questions which we would answer in writing. Here are the questions from Channel 10 on Monday and our answers.
What have traders been told about the redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Market?
We have been told very little actually and haven’t seen any specific plans. 

How much consolation have you had with the council over the proposed redevelopment?
At best we could say that whilst we have had discussions on general issues at the Market actual consultation on redevelopment is yet to begin.

Are traders frustrated with the amount of time it is taking for a redevelopment plan to be formulated? Are they concerned if something isn’t done to improve the market soon, their trade will be affected?
Our concerns are more related to the substance of the proposed changes rather than the timeline at this stage. In that until we see the true nature of the redevelopment plans we really can’t comment on what effect the redevelopment may have on trading at the Market.

What would the traders be looking for in a redeveloped QVM?"
Whilst we don’t believe we can really contribute meaningfully to that discussion until we see what council has in mind. Traders are keen to see that the Queen Victoria Market maintains its role as an important provider of goods to local families and city visitors. Measures for the development of the market must make sure that connection between traders and their customers is enhanced and meets future needs.

....and here is a summary of what was said on the Channel 10 News at 5:00pm, Monday.

 ...the lord mayor robert doyle today refused to buy in, but council denies he's ducking the issue.
With the queen victoria market back in the headlines robert doyle was set to hand over a charity cheque today instead his deputy was sent in his place.

"We were expecting the lord mayor, unfortunately hes been caught up in another meeting, so. That's the breaks mate, you cant have everything."

Susan Riley, refusing to be drawn on the market redevelopment.
"No comment on the redevelopment of the vic market at all today?" (Reporter) (susan riley keeps walking offering no comment)

Plans to revitalize the site were mooted more than 2 years ago, but there been little action.

"There have been some interesting proposals discussed but we will await a formal proposition". (Premier Ted Baileau)

Vic Market Traders claim they have been kept in the dark, in a statement the Markets Advisory Committee says "actual consultation on redevelopment is yet to begin". Thats almost 2 years after the former City Councillor Peter Clarke took an $18,000 taxpayer funded trip to review overseas markets.

 A spokesperson for the Council denied that the Lord Mayor was hiding from the media while also confirming that Robert Doyle wouldn't be making any comments on the Queen Victoria Market redevelopment.
The council is reportedly concerned the state government will not hand over a key piece of land that will finance the works.

"Its a great asset, its a great part of our story and hopefully some of the difficulties can be dealt with" (Daniel Andrews - Opposition Leader)

The city council says the new administration is yet to be briefed on the redevelopment and wont comment.

Media Interest In Market

Trader Representatives have been contacted by a variety of media outlets over the last week as the debate over the re-development of the QVM hots up.

It is fair to say that your Trader Representatives are not seasoned media performers. It is also fair to say that media interviews are riddled with dangers – misquoting, selective quotes, unannounced agendas, and hijack questions, are just some of them. It is difficult to ignore media requests so we have adopted a policy of answering written questions in writing. So far that has worked ok but this is a work in progress.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Recent City News Involving Our Market

Recent City News Involving Our Market
12/11/2012 “Towering apartment buildings are also set to rise near Queen Victoria Market, with approval gained for skyscrapers in Elizabeth St and at the Celtic Club in Queen St.
The 62-storey, 197m tower on the corner of Elizabeth and Franklin streets will house 541 apartments only 100m from Victoria Market.
The Celtic Club development will rise 48 storeys and 154m with 256 apartments within 300m of the market.”

 12/11/2012 “Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has identified his favourite hidden gems, including a memorial to pioneer John Batman at Queen Victoria Market and a horse hitching post in Treasury Gardens.”

Friday 16 November 2012

Latest Retail News – 16/11/2012

Latest Retail News – 16/11/2012
1.      Tourism sites TripAdvisor and Skytrax accused of fake user reviews.
2.      NAB reports business confidence at its lowest level in 3 years while Westpac reports consumer confidence up 5% in November.
3.      David Jones launches new website.
4.      Webjet’s shares plummet 10% as they warn of low tourism growth.
5.      NSW Government withdraws plan to extend  Boxing Day trading to small retailers.
6.      Groupon reports another disappointing result sending stock down 30%.
7.      Australian retailer Bookworld  tackles Amazon by offering free delivery within 2-3 days.
8.      David Jones announces price reductions up to 50% as it competes with online.
9.      New shopping centre in Malaysia will be called a learning enrichment mall, devoted to children.
10.  Popular online photo posting site, Pinterest, introduces new business pages to its format.
11.  Myer report 1% growth in first quarter sales.

Trader Gets Big Jump In Facebook Exposure

Facebook just sent me this weekly update for my business Facebook page. Note the increase in my Weekly Total Reach – 17,000%. That is 17 thousand percent. !!!!!!!

The reason is simple. I only have about 100 likes on my page but Queen Victoria Market picked up my post last week and re-posted it on their own facebook page which now has over 14,000 likes. This is how social media works. Slowly but surely I expect these figures to grow into something significant. Might be worth a thought for your business.


How Do Your Sales Compare With Chadstone?

Ever wondered how your sales compare with retailers in one of Australia’s top shopping centres? A recent article in Inside Retail quoted sales per square metre across a range of centres.

A specialty store in Chadstone averages $13,202 per square metre per annum. Translate that to a QVM stall on the long side of K shed (around 25sq m) and you get sales of $330,050 per annum or approximately $6350 per week.

The same story identified 3 Victorian shopping centres (Chadstone, Knox, and Fountain Gate) as being in the top 4 Australian centres for floorspace.

Which Retail Categories Will Survive?

Remember when we had 3 stalls at the Queen Victoria Market selling CDs? Retailing is a dynamic industry and categories come and go. According to a recent article, here is a list of likely survivors and those in danger.

In Danger –

1.      Newsagents.

2.      Opticians.(Online competition growing)

3.      Camera Stores.

4.      Bookstores.

5.      Electronics Stores (Some).

6.      Any retailer that lets themselves get stale.

Likely Survivors –

1.      Jewellery.

2.      Hardware.

3.      Clothing.

4.      Department Stores.

5.      Pet Shops.

My category is not mentioned. Somehow I don’t get any comfort from that.