Monday 30 June 2014

Trader Comments

30/06/2014 18:12:01 Consultation Process "Call me cynical but after reading a precis of the report from the last round, it strikes me that the community consultations have produced the exact result that the CoM have been pushing from day one. Are the original written comments taken by the consultants available as public document or do you have to apply via freedom of information act. Smells a bit fishy to me. Never trust a politician.
We need refurbishment and maintenance, provision of power and water to neglected areas. Imagine a clean crisp market for the people by the people (traders). Yuppy will be a forgotten fad shortly. Wise men think, fools destroy." Karl

01/07/2014 13:12:57 Petition "Just wanted to no if any other stall holders were ask questions from a Age reporter over the weekend about the State opposition's backed petition that's been floating around the market the last few weeks. As Daniel Andrews is favourite to win this years election and he is against the redevelopment does this mean it will not go ahead. The reporter seemed to think so." Maria

Have Your Say - click here.

Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away This Weeks Traders Bulletin

The Traders Bulletin distributed around QVM this weekend is significant for a number of reasons and could herald one of the more influential documents of the last decade. We are referring to the announcement of a QVM Business Plan on pages one and two.

It is a mystery why QVM hasn’t had a clear Vision Statement up until now and QVMAC Representatives had elevated a Vision Statement to the top of their wish list. Obviously our CEO had similar thoughts and now we have a document that identifies all the good things that go with professional directional planning – 
1. A Vision Statement.
2. A Mission Statement
3. A list of Goals.
4. A list of Values and Strategic Priorities.

The plan is not quite complete and that is great because traders have the opportunity for comment and input over the coming weeks. There are elements that deserve our attention and careful thought. There are elements that we will need to question and elements that we may wish to expand on.

At a time when traders are asking for less renewal talk and more market performance talk, this is an important opportunity. Issues like Market Activation Projects, Marketing Strategies, and Measuring Retail Performance are all potentially in the mix.

So don’t throw away this weekend’s Traders Bulletin (at least not the bit about the Business Plan on the first two pages). Read it, digest the information, and be ready to ask questions at group meetings over coming weeks.

Have Your Say – click here.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Professional PA Voice Impresses At QVM

What a difference a professional voice makes over our PA system. Was anybody else impressed with the PA presentation on Sunday? It would have been nice to hear more about Specialty merchandise stalls but getting a professional presentation of what was happening around the market, and how to join in the events, seemed a good idea.
What did you think?

30/06/2014 14:19:16 Professional PA "It was good to hear a professional PA on the speaker system.
I had a couple of customer comment on the fact that he WAFFLED on a bit to much, and they got lost in what he was trying to achieve.

From a general merchandise trader, l was disappointed that the main focus, was the dairy hall, and that the rest of market was generally forgotten about. Every announcement contained info about the dairy hall. It felt like the general merchandise area was again, the area of the market that people don't want to discuss. 
It makes me feel like people are ashamed that our great QVM has a general merchandise area. It feels like they think that all a re market should be is, Fruit, Veggies, Meat, Fish and Dairy products. 
It would be nice to have the same amount of focus put into the general merchandise area, as goes into the rest of the market. 
I wonder how the other areas would feel, if the tables were turned, and they got basically no coverage, in our advertising, and the focus was all about the general merchandise. Im sure they would feel that they are hard done by as well.
The only trader that really got a mention was the Prahran Market trader, who has a stall on Sundays only in ""A"" shed. "

30/06/2014 22:31:54 profesional speakers "Great idea on Sunday, gave the market more of a professional feeling. keep it up." andrew g.
07/07/2014 22:51:33 professional speaker "Im at the top of L shed on sunday and all i could hear was noise, he wasnt very clear at all, or maybe it was the speakers."  Leah

Latest Retail News – 29/6/2014

Latest Retail News – 29/6/2014

1. Cadbury launches giant chocolate vending machine in Melbourne’s Federation Square to link with social media likes.
2. Westfield Garden City Centre in Qld launches Asian street style food court.
3. Myer fires senior executive accused of lying on resume.
4. Australia’s first 3D printing franchise plans expansion.
5. South Africa’s Woolworths launches takeover bid for Country Road.
6. Kathmandu predicts gloomy earnings outlook due warm winter.
7. Coffee Club introduces shipping container outlets.
8. Uniglo to open its third Australian store at Chadstone shopping centre.
9. CBA says consumer spending in 12 months to May down 4%.
10. Radio Shack’s US share price falls below $1 which could see it de-listed.
11. Pay packets of La Porchetta employees under review.
12. Starbucks opens community concept stores in China.
13. Zara to open first store in WA bringing Australian total to 10.
14. Nike exceeds profit expectations in 4th quarter.
15. Dick Smiths sets up long term retail strategy with Vodafone.

A Traders Redevelopment Idea - Thinking Inside The Box

"Here we go, another idea out of my brain, and yes that tells you that business must be a little slow, if this is how I can spend my time. Thinking of ideas for this great market of ours.

I know this idea will get a lot of people off side, especially those that believe the market does not need any changes - “we just need better advertising”, and “it’s all the marketing departments fault for not getting us customers”.

Let’s face it, with today’s life styles, people are time poor, and traveling to our great market, is not something that is appealing to a lot of people these days. They have to contend with Melbourne’s fantastic weather, parking, toll-ways, rising fuel costs and a number of other issues. Customers can now shop online – sadly a lot of the time its cheaper than we are – they can go to any number of new shopping centers that are appearing in every 2nd or 3rd new estate that gets built, so they don’t have to travel far, and shops prices are very close to ours, and sometimes dare I say it, they are better.

What if we did something very radical, something outside the box, well, actually it would be
inside a box. For those of you who know me, you will know that I am not in favor of lock up areas, cages for a better word, for our stalls, and I have openly stated this time and time again, but what if we took a leaf out of another part of the world, and turned our great market into something new, hip and really funky, and made it an attraction to not only tourists, but locals as well, to come and see.

Several years ago, Christchurch, NZ was hit by several earthquakes, and the city rallied together, and to assist the local businesses, they created the “CONTAINER CITY MALL”. Yes that’s right I said container, and yes I’m suggesting something along these lines for us. But not in the form of our current containers, but along the lines of the Christchurch set up. It would give us a new edge, something to draw attention to our great market, become something that people want to see. I visited Christchurch a few months after the container mall opened, and it was the first thing I wanted to see, and its because it was different, it was a great place, and l was truly inspired by what had been achieved. As a sign of how great this is, Starbucks in the USA, has opened up a number of new stores based on the principles used.

This could be done in several methods:
Permanent lock up container: Stall holder sets up once, and that’s it, just like a shop.
Casual container: Stall holder set ups each day, can be allocated to different traders each day
Single story or double story containers
Extra large or smaller versions
Containers with an alfresco area out the front

 The great thing about this is, that it could be started, before the car park construction starts,
and give us a chance to attract more customers during this period, and also assist us traders in a plan of action during the construction works. A two story container, could easily fit a stall that currently occupies 4 stalls, but only take the space of a double. This could give us the chance to not think about reduction in size of stalls, but make an effort to adjust and adapt.

There are a huge amount of benefits, and drawbacks to any possible solution, but we need to look at all options.

No matter what, we will all need to adapt and change, if we want to survive into the future, and keep our businesses successful.

If you have not seen the Christchurch Container City Mall, you should check it out. Here is the link: "


30/06/2014 10:00:37 Redevelopment Containers       "I want one."  

30/06/2014 14:08:53 Container Idea "What a concept this is. Would it work, who knows. Perhaps if it was done in the right way, then it could be a huge attraction, and really help to bring people back to the market, even if only for a the lets have a look factor, but hey once at the market, we maybe able to pry some of those hard earned dollars from their wallets.
Maybe the management could ask for volunteers to be a part of this idea, and with a little bit of incentive towards a rent free period, or even better still, an offer to fit out the container (within a set budget of course - above that the stall holder has to pay - but you would need to have a good size fit out cost - lets say $10,000 before the stall holder pays) they might be able to get a few takers.
I might be interested, if the location is thought about, fit out included and l could keep my permeant stalls, but put them on a leave of absence during the trial period so that if at the end, l was not happy l could leave the container and return to my stalls, without the prospect of losing them."

Traders Didn’t Ask For A Renewal

When representatives of traders attended the Lord Mayors office some three years ago it was to ask the CoM to correct years of management neglect at QVM. This neglect was one of the significant contributors to a serious decline in trader’s business.

The City of Melbourne’s response was to initiate a renewal. It was said that a renewal would address many of the issues facing the market and provide a framework for taking our market forward for the next phase of its life. All that is admirable and the process of formal consultation has identified the key areas that need attention – car parking, rest and recreation areas, trader facilities, stall mix, more food outlets, and so on. This has all been done very professionally and we have even had Global Market Experts contributing to the debate. When all these renewal items are in place, and assuming they have been done well, we will be back on track.

But in the meantime, the trading conditions that existed when we first went to the Lord Mayor have not been addressed. And not only are traders still genuinely suffering from poor trade but we are faced with a construction period that will make matters worse. This is our dilemma. Traders would be happy to embrace the renewal of our great market but only if we felt our concerns were really being addressed. A consultation process that listens to our concerns, and dutifully records our comments, is pointless if those concerns are not addressed along the way.

It is sometimes said that traders are not on board a renewal because of self interest. Hell yes! Why wouldn’t modest fragile businesses be concerned about their livelihood and their responsibility to family and their future? You may say this is an emotive response, and it is, but it is also a reality that deserves respect. Management say they have not formalised their intent for QVM. They are still in planning phase. As one of our Victrader contributors so eloquently put in a post yesterday – “l know, the management line is, we can't say, as we don't know yet, well I'm sorry, but you need to do better than that.”

QVM do need to do better than that. The gap between trader and management is large and that is because we are focusing on renewal but not on the bigger issue for traders which is viability. 

Have Your Say - click here.

29/06/2014 19:56:46 Traders didn't ask for renewal "This is very true indeed. A number of issues that have been raised over the years are still issues. 
There still feels to be a disconnect between management and the traders, and there is still a feeling that we are being treated like a Shopping Centre and not a market.
Renewal could be a good thing for the market, if it is done right, and actually supports the traders to supply the customers with a shopping experience, but the biggest concern is, if there are NO shoppers, who will benefit from the renewal in the end, NO ONE.
Customer numbers are dropping (well in the top end anyway - this is where l am - so not sure about the other areas) despite statistics saying we have increasing numbers. When you actually stand in the aisles you can physically see that we have less people walking in the aisles than we did 12 months ago.
For a renewal project to work, we all need to be on board, but traders are going to struggle to get on board when, the main fundamental thing that traders have been asking for, for years and years, is an increase in shoppers, and we are seeing a physical decline in shoppers, then we are all very sceptical of something that management is unable to tell us anything about (renewal detail), but something we all know will have a negative impact on our business during the process.
Traders can say its because of lack of parking that we are struggling for numbers, but hey, approx 25 years ago, we actually had a smaller car park, yes thats right, we had 2 more sheds (N & O) that were removed to create a larger car park, and you could not walk down the aisles due to the number of people in the market. 
I think we need to ask some questions as to what are the real reasons customers are no longer at the QVM." Lance

Friday 27 June 2014

Stop Souvenir Bashing at QVM

Today's Herald Sun has a report on "junky Australian souvenirs" at QVM as it reports on results from the latest round of consultation. Capire conducted a number of community consultation interviews in April and May including a focus on trader views from the temporary F shed office.

"“Participants expressed concern that the general merchandise section had evolved into a place that predominantly sells tourist souvenirs ... some stallholders ... have become too tourist and junky,” said the report by consultants Capire."

We have posted many times on this website about the anomalies surrounding attitudes to souvenir selling at QVM. The point is that one persons junk is another persons treasure. Our souvenir category is incredibly robust and offers a very wide choice to consumers. In fact, let's go further and say that nowhere else in Melbourne can you see such a rich offer. The range is incredible - genuine Aboriginal craft from places like Koorie Connections on Victoria St. through to Australian motif T-shirts at ridiculously affordable prices from a variety of outlets. And how many Australians and international tourists could access and afford that iconic aboriginal instrument, the didgeridoo, if it wasn't for QVM.

It is true that most of the visitors to QVM don't see the relevance of all the souvenir stalls but that is because most of them are locals who travel internationally only rarely. International tourists believe our tourist category is incredibly relevant and they give it strong support. And when it comes to cheapness, let me ask you a question. What did you purchase for family members on your last trip overseas? Was it a Donald Duck T-shirt in L.A. or a Harrods apron in London? Most souvenirs sold around the world are not expensive. They are relevant for where they are purchased and, particularly if you have a large family, cost is an important factor.

So let's stop the souvenir bashing at QVM. If any souvenir outlets need criticism it is the incredibly over-priced rip-off outlets around Melbourne that are served by tourist buses getting a piece of the action for themselves. Australian residents and international tourists would do well to embrace the variety and price competitiveness at QVM.

Have Your Say - click here.

27/06/2014 11:04:13 Respond to Herald Sun "I just wonder, who let those shops to be trade in this place? Was it the management? "

27/06/2014 11:06:37 souvenir bashing "In a 40 page report the Herald Sun has only been able to report same old same old, I as one of the tacky souvenir stall owner who's famiy has been selling souvenirs at the Queen Victoria Market since the early 70s, is sick to death of hearing whining from people who don't shop at the market or travel complain about our offering. The amount of customers we have returning to us year after year is amazing. Lets take a look at any Westfield shopping centre, how many coffee shops or Jewellery stores does one shopping centre need, I don't here anyone complaining about them. There are lots of reasons why stalls have been duplicated, lets look at the previous management teams. Lets face it People Mr Doyle doesnt care about us, only his road to that dead horse called The Docklands."

27/06/2014 14:53:50 Market (Junk) "There are 1500  at least stalls in the Queen Victoria Market How many sell junk????   no one is forced to shop in QVM   It is a market after all people shop in markets for bargains not available elsewhere   most customers we talk to from interstate and overseas love the market there is nothing like it anywhere else in  Australia  it is a shame locals do not appreciate the market they have in their city These reports are printed to speed along the process for those with other motives which they claim is in the name of progress but  its all about the mighty$$$$ in the end" JR   E shed

27/06/2014 19:14:41 Stop Souvenir Bashing at QVM "This is not a very good article at all.
There is a very big point that has been missed here, and that is the fact that over the last 15 to 20 years the main target audience for the market advertising has been the tourist dollar, and mainly the international tourists at that. So given this is where we are advertising, is it not relevant that we have a supply of the product that these tourists would be looking for. You can't ask for tourists and then not supply them souvenirs to buy. 
Previous management is to blame for the number of stalls within the market  selling souvenirs, but hey, there is also enough of a tourist market for them to all survive, so that must be saying something about the amount of people that shop with these stalls.
Why is that the CoM can only focus on one thing about the market - to them its the cheap tacky souvenirs.
What would be the outcome of they were to say focus on the Fruit & Veges that l am constantly hearing from customers are on the downward trend and generally no longer constitute fresh from a number of the stalls. I would hear on a daily basis, customers say they will no longer purchase fruit and veges at this market, as they are not up to standards of other places. I don't hear the CoM bashing this issue - just the poor souvenir stall holders - yet again.
Keep your chin up guys, and keep on selling, and making a living while you can." Lance

28/06/2014 18:53:59 news paper article "Disappointed to read yet another negative newspaper article about the Market. It would be a refreshing change to have Management come out with a counter article high lighting some positive aspects of the Market & merchandise mix. The old saying ""if you throw enough mud eventually some will stick"". To much negative press will give customers another reason to not shop here."

29/06/2014 Posted on facebook - "It would be really nice if management actually came out and showed support for Stall-holders instead of sitting back and just letting people make comments on things they don't understand. There are many stall in Queen Victoria Market that sell upmarket goods but no-one focus on that. Maybe be the marketing department can actually come out and start supporting the stall holders instead of being nowhere to be seen. Lets start highlighting the great stall we do have, of which there are many." Drita


Thursday 26 June 2014

Trader Comments On Various Topics

We have received a number of comments from traders (or maybe one or two very active traders) on issues raised over the last week. Here they are - 

26/06/2014 17:59:11 Marketing Department "I would like to see the marketing department actually market the ""DAY MARKET"".
In todays Herald Sun (Thursday June 28th 2014) there was a lift out from the CITY OF MELBOURNE. 
It had all of these wonderful things to do in the City of Melbourne over the Winter Months.
It has a whole section dedicated to the markets taking place.
Mentioned where the following: ""New Craft"" market in ""A"" shed twice during the winter period
Luna Night Market running July & August on Wed nights.
BUT...... where is the mention of the QVM DAY MARKET.......... thats right no mention we are open 5 days a week, and a great to shop for winter items to rug up and stay warm. 
WHY? that is my question....... Why does the DAY MARKET, which generates the lump sum of income for the QVM to pay the MARKETING DEPARTMENTS WAGES not get a mention in an publication that is available all over the state.


26/06/2014 18:07:55 Dairy Hall Rents "With the talk of huge rent increases in the dairy hall, can anyone answer a very simple question for me please. How do the proposed new rents measure up against the rents of other areas of the market? 
In this l mean, are they going to be significantly higher or more in-line with the rents paid by other areas of the market: 
Meat & Fish Hall - Higher or lower or the about the same 
Food Court - Higher or lower or the about the same 
Victoria Street Shops - Higher or lower or the about the same 
"F" Shed Shops - Higher or lower or the about the same 
General Market Stall rents - Higher or lower or the about the same 
This may make it easier for all of us to understand how these proposed rent increases will look in comparison to other areas of the market."

26/06/2014 18:26:07 QVM Petition "There are a large number of traders against the redevelopment of the QVM. This is fact, and something that the Traders Reps need to understand, along with the Management, State Govt and CoM. 
There will always be people against change, no matter what you do. I for one, am against the redevelopment, based on the very little information that has been supplied by management, as to the potential changes, and how we the traders will be affected during the construction phase. It feels as though management is not taking trader concerns seriously, when we say that we are concerned for our businesses and for our own lively hoods. 
For a very large majority of traders at the QVM, this is how we make a living, and we pay our bills. We do not have another source of income, and when you start to play around with peoples lively hoods, it gets emotional, and this needs to be addressed. 
A lot of the issues l feel are coming from the fact, that there are so many rumours floating about, and no one is really stopping them or saying this is not going to happen, or this is going to happen...... And l know, the management line is, we can't say, as we don't know yet, well I'm sorry, but you need to do better than that. If there is any information, regardless of what it is, it should be provided to traders, so they are getting a better understanding of what is happening and how it affects them. I am for a redevelopment, but l think the main thing is to bring us into the current century first, before we start to worry about major construction works. Lets get power to all stalls Lets get lighting that actually works to light an entire stall, not just the 6 feet directly below the new lights installed lets get some weather protection happening - Tuesday was a prime example - gale force winds, so traders packed up and left early, because it was to dangerous to stay set up, and this in return say an empty market for those customers brave enough to visit 
Trading hours - these need to reflect current market trends - not those from 20 years ago, when we last looked at them to extended saturday trading to 3pm Shuttle buses from the surrounding car parks, would help to reduce some of the parking stresses All QVM PTY LTD, Security, Stall Holders to to no longer park in the QVM car park, as this will increase parking by probably 100 spaces a day. Parking validation System, to stop City Workers just parking there cause they can get cheap VOUCHER parking Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, but never actually visit the market and spend any money 
 The only PROBLEM with all of the above....... IT DOESNT MEET THE CoM agenda, to change Franklin Street, and sell of the land to make more MONEY..... at the end of the day its all about the money"

26/06/2014 18:31:17 Serious Question about the QVM Petition "I am not sure why the TIMING, or the INTENT are concerns. It is pretty straight forward really. The intent is to stop the redevelopment of the QVM - the proposed changes will hurt traders income, and potentially send a lot of business broke The timing is simple, with a State Election due in a few months, it makes sense to put a case forward, that traders and visitors are concerned for the markets future. There are huge number of traders and visitors concerned by this redevelopment, and do not want it to happen."

27/06/2014 07:52:38 Traders Comments "I think we need to seperate the renewal from the impact of the renewal. QVM needs renewal to make us more relevant to today's customers. Do we seriously want to continue the business levels of the last decade. But the impact of construction on traders is just too frightening. We need assurances that we will be looked after. Maybe a guaranteed extra $2m per year on marketing the market during construction, free rent for D and E shed traders during construction and half rent for the rest of the top end and maybe the food court."

Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Dairy Hall Update

All traders will be aware of the significant challenges facing Deli Traders as QVM reviews all aspects of the iconic Dairy Hall.

Rents are a major issue and next week traders will be reviewing the detail of QVM’s outside sourced rent assessments and just how appropriate they are for market traders in a public retail market. This is a crucial examination and one that has implications for traders in all areas of the market. We will keep you informed.

Have Your Say – click here.

Latest Retail News – 22/6/2014

Latest Retail News – 22/6/2014
1. SRG Group (Super Auto, Rebel etc.) blames Federal Budget for reduced sales forecast.
2. India’s online business expected to grow by 50% over 4 years.
3. Victoria’s Secret to open first Melbourne CBD store in July.
4. China’s retail sales up by 12.5% in May.
5. Thursday is Australia’s big day for groceries.
6. Tony Bianco launches new footwear store look.
7. CEO of The Apparel Group, ( Sportscraft, SABA, Willow, and JAG) joins Myer.
8. Menswear store, Autonomy, opens in-store coffee shop at Emporium.

Serious Questions About QVM Petition

Last week we posted an article about the latest petition to be presented at the market. It is a petition asking the Victorian Government to "withdraw support for QVM development".
The petition purports to be from the Save Vic Market Group convened by Dr. John Price but we have now been informed that group may not be involved. We have emailed Dr. Price seeking clarification, but haven't received a response as yet.
Social media is claiming it is a "trader petition" but no trader has accepted responsibility for the petition and the official trader representatives (QVMAC Representatives) discussed the issue at a meeting on Tuesday and confirmed they are not involved.
The format of this petition, its timing, its intent, and just who is behind it, are all aspects that need questioning.

QVM Marketing Vision

QVMAC Representatives were treated to a presentation from the QVM Marketing Department on Tuesday this week. Marketing Director, Mark Smith, and his staff outlined their marketing plan for 2014/15 under a business vision of - "A thriving public market loved by the people of Melbourne and all visitors".

Some features were -
1.     Recognising QVM's original and primary role as a fresh food market.
2.     Emphasis on attracting the cruise ship market including the possibility of direct shuttle buses.
3.     Focus on major Melbourne events including the upcoming World AIDS Conference which will be largest such conference in Melbourne's history with 16,000 visitors.
4.     The upcoming Brand Refresh for QVM which will establish our core branding message.
5.     Analysis of our customer groups, who they are, and why they come here.
6.     The introduction of PATH Intelligence customer counting and traffic flow analysis.
7.     Sponsorship initiatives around our site and through our various market concepts (Day Market, Night Market, Winter Market, etc.)

Detail on all the marketing Department projects will be revealed as the year progresses but next up we can look forward to the influx of visitors from the International AIDS Conference 20th-25th July.

Farewell, Good Luck, and Thank You To Traders

We have had two significant departures from QVM this week.

Kevin & Annette Stanisich (teddy bear stall) have retired from the market after four generations of involvement. In typical pragmatic fashion, Kevin & Annette did not want any fanfare on their last day although that didn't stop traders, staff and customers giving them a fond farewell.

We published an article on their contribution to QVM back in December - . Kevin and Annette are both excellent cooks and we expect to see their presence around the QVM food halls for many years to come.

Terry and Mary-Anne from Airllywood have not been in the market quite as long but their contribution to the fashion clothing scene at QVM has been significant. They have proved to be innovative traders with a forward thinking approach to linking Bricks'n'Mortar with online trading. They are leaving the market to start up a new retail venture in Queensland and we wish them every success.

It is sad when long time traders (and friends) leave our market but perhaps it helps get our own self importance into perspective. There is an Aboriginal proverb that starts off "We are all visitors to this time, this place - we are just passing through."  The grand old lady that is The Queen Victoria Market just keeps on chugging along, hopefully a little richer from our individual contributions. Certainly these traders have left their mark.

Have Your Say - click here.

22/06/2014 14:43:52 Our Departure "It is with mixed emotions that we say ""good bye' to the Market and to all the friends that we have made there over a few short years.  We were not able to get round to see everyone and for that we are sorry.  We live in interesting times, not least of which will be the upcoming changes at the QVM.  We wish you all well, good health and profitable trading. Terry & Mary-Anne (Airllywood)" Terry Lawn

String Bean Alley Blossoms

Traders are a pragmatic lot - not generally influenced by superstitions, mysterious signs, or old wives tales. (Although some in our Vietnamese community have been known to burn small pieces of paper at their stall to encourage business.)

So the fact that a blossom tree is blossoming in the middle of winter may go un-noticed. But not to this contributor who has sent us two photos of the tree in String Bean Alley and suggested that the fortunes for  traders could be set to bloom. We hope they are right.  

Sunday 15 June 2014

Latest Retail News – 15/6/2014

Latest Retail News – 15/6/2014

1. Local food growers being damaged by supermarket wars.
2. Masters overhauls its online offer.
3. New Melbourne cafe caters to cats.
4. Australia Post to slash 900 jobs in response to changing demand for snail mail.
5. Pacific Brands (Bonds etc.) cuts earnings forecasts.
6. Uniqlo plans price hikes due declining Yen.
7. Famous Italian market and restaurant concept, Eataly, seeks Sydney site.
8. Zara announces rare fall in quarterly profits.
9. Retail Adventures Group (Sam’s Warehouse and Crazy Clarks) to close 50 more stores.
10. Luxury fashion brand Alexander McQueens opens first flagship store in Tokyo.
11. KFC named Australian Retailer of the Year.
12. US retail sales rise for 4th straight month in May. 

Small Business Training Opportunities

Upcoming events in this useful series of training sessions for QVM Traders are as follows:

Building your Online Strategy workshop on 23/7/2014 - 9.30AM to 1.00PM

Sustainability: It's Just Good Business seminar on 6/08/2014 -  9:30 AM to11:30 AM.

Marketing for Growth workshop on 3/09/2014-  9:30 AM to 1:00 PM.

Details can be found at the QVM Traders Hub -

Another Petition At QVM

Sighted at Betty Jennings stall this week was a petition from a group called Save Victoria Market (or variations of that name). The petition was addressed to the Victorian Legislative Council concerning the QVM renewal and presumably invites signatures from traders and members of the public.
The petition claims that the proposed development of QVM will damage an iconic asset, destroy the livelihood of traders, and desecrate graves. Save Victoria Market has a facebook page and a website ( which is signed off by Dr. John Price. 

A Buzz In String Bean Alley - But Not Just From Customers

It was a quiet Saturday morning around 8:15am. Many stall holders were still setting up at their top-end stalls. But above the cacophony of noise normally associated with set-up at QVM there was an occasional excited murmur, followed by loud exclamations, and even a loud cheer or two.
          The site was the Intone Photography container in String Bean Alley and the occasion was Australia’s World Cup match against Chile. As the match progressed, it was possible to determine the state of play purely from the sounds emanating from the crowd huddled around a small TV screen at one end of the market.
          There were the disappointed moans as Chile scored its first goal, closely followed by another. Then there was the crescendo of cheering as Australia scored its goal which surely must have been heard in A shed and beyond. Then there was the loud cheer tailing off into a gentle moan as Australia slipped one the wrong side of the post.

          QVM has its fair share of soccer (football) addicts and the balance of traders no doubt reflect Australia’s passion for all things sport. The World Cup is a huge event. One trader’s wife rarely attends the market as she looks after a young family but at World Cup time she fills in as her husband is given one month off to indulge his passion for the world game.
          Australia’s next match is against The Netherlands on Thursday morning at 2:00am. Expect some bleary eyed traders on Thursday.

Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday 8 June 2014

Latest Retail News – 8/6/2014

Latest Retail News – 8/6/2014

1. Online fashion retailer, The Iconic, launches click and collect facility at Sydney Shopping Centre.
2. Westfield’s plans for restructure held up by small investors vote.
3. Tap’n’Go fraud on the rise as credit card thefts increase.
4. Japanese commerce giant, Rakuten, opens its first café.
5. Athlete’s Foot downgrades earnings forecast.
6. Juice chain, Boost, has new owner.
7. Weekly Times reports some QVM traders refusing display country of origin on food.
8. Bonds move into direct retailing with Bonds Kids stores.
9. Noni B rumoured to be set for a takeover.
10. Britain’s biggest retailer,Tesco,  suffers largest quarterly sales drop in four decades.
11. Uniglo reports same store sales up in Japan.
12. Coles could divest itself of Vintage Cellars stores as liquor continues to struggle.
13. Large scale expansion impacts on supermarket profits in India.
14. UK shopping centre launches iBeacon linked app.
15. Owner of Topshop buys 25% stake in Australian onliner, Ozsales.

New Stalls At QVM

There certainly seems to be a number of new stall concepts popping up at QVM.
Sunday trading at the top end of A shed has brought us a Computer Mart, a Craft Market, a Retro & Vintage Market, and today's Baby and Kids Market.

Now we have some new stalls in I shed with an intriguing Wormlovers Stall (appropriate for the Organics Section), Greensmart Pots, Coconut Revolution (which at a quick glance appeared to involve cosmetics) and a very bright and colourful stall dubbed as Italian Windmills, which was delighting the kids.

We understand that there is also to be a new (and maybe last chance?) effort to populate the L shed side of String Bean Alley with stalls.

These would all seem to be positive developments for rejuvenating the QVM offer.

How It Is Done In The City Of Markets

Trader, Ivano, recently returned from a self funded European trip which included a visit to the famous Barcelona Markets in Spain.
Ivano is at pains to point out that there are many significant differences between our QVM and the European markets. A direct comparison is often not relevant although many things can be learned particularly from a market focussed city like Barcelona and the fact that many of their key markets have experienced, or are experiencing, renewals.
This is a report on Mercat de Sants in Barcelona.

1) Mercat de Sants

Visited Friday 9/5/2014 2:30-5pm

Redevelopment -
The market building has been completely renewed. It has been divided between stalls, service and facility areas, parking and a supermarket area. There are now 3 underground levels which will include parking spaces / loading and unloading areas / storage and cool rooms.

Merchandise Mix -
Of the 55 traders trading previously at the Mercat de Sants 25 have opted to continue trading and take up stalls in the redeveloped market. These will be primarily food vendors, with a limited number of non food vendors in lock up booths located around the outside of the market building.
In the provisional market currently trading a few streets from the market site there has been a noticeable increase of stalls selling take away meals, that can be picked up from the market and then eaten at home. The variety on offer of ready to eat take home melas was quite vast.
There was also a home delivery service operating, which according to the information I received was run by a private business.
Many stalls had a very local offer available, including offal, snails and other locally appreciated products.

Trading in the Temporary Market -
Traders were very satisfied with trading in the temporary market and no trader indicated that they had suffered a downturn in trade due to the relocation and works being undertaken in the market building.

Trading HoursMonday 7:30-14:00 / Tuesday and Thursday 7:30-14:00 17:00-20:30 / Friday 7:30-20:30 / Saturday 7:30-15:30 /Sunday closed

Trade - My initial visit in the temporary market took place at 2:30pm Friday afternoon and then I returned to the market at approximately 4:30-5pm.

During my initial visit traffic flow was low, but upon returning at the later time footfall had visibly increased. It was explained to me that since in most Barcelonan families both husband and wife worked, trade would usually pick up later in the day, with Saturday being the standout day for trade.

Customer Demographic - Markets are used extensively by most people residing around the market. Barcelona seems to have densely populated residential areas right through the city and surrounding all the Markets. Therein lies a major difference both with regards to the Queen Victoria Market and the London Markets which are currently surrounded by offices rather than families ( it is of course true that QVM has a considerable residential area to its north and west, but it differs from Barcelona for a number of reasons largely due to its large number of international students and the market hours which are not conducive to shopping for the residents around QVM). The residents around Mercat de Sants are largely lower socio economic groups often comprising of immigrant families, which may be reminiscent in some ways of QVM and its surrounding areas a few decades ago.

It is also important to understand the relatively low number of supermarkets in Barcelona. Another factor that contributes to the healthy trade at the Mercat de Sants and other markets in Barcelona involves the use of seafood in the Catalonian diet and the general reluctance to buy seafood from supermarkets even if they are present. When I enquired about that aspect I was told that as supermarkets don't offer either the variety or quality of the market people are very unlikely to opt to buy either seafood or meat from a supermarket.

Stall Presentation - Stall presentation in the temporary market was quite reminiscent of current food stall presentation at the Queen Victoria Market. This changes dramatically in the redeveloped market, with a very modern, and designer approach. Very different to the 'grungy' style being currently suggested for the QVM.

Market Management Structure - It was very interesting to listen to the management structure on which all the Barcelona markets work.
Basically the Barcelona City Council set up a specific department which was required to oversee the running and upkeep of the markets. This department was set up in 1996 and is known as the IMMB. It currently employs 70 people.
However the Council requires each individual market to look after the day to day running of the market. This is done through a traders association, which is obligatory for all people who take up trading at the market. The traders then appoint a group of traders onto committees which are given the responsibility to run the market and look after the day to day running of the market. That is the contracting of the cleaning, the payment of the lighting, water and other services which involve its day to day operations. The City Council takes on any outstanding maintenance that needs to be done. Which includes aspects like painting, replacement of fixtures, infrastructure issues etc. The costs of the redevelopments or renewals are shared by both traders and the City Council. In the case of the redevelopment of the Mercat de Sants traders contributed a proportion of the construction costs (as well as the cost of the fit outs of their respective stalls in the new market), the City Council contributed the bulk of the total cost and the new Supermarket located in the redeveloped market contributed as well

The market rent is basically paid partly to the City Council and partly to the Traders Association. From the information I was given I understand that rental breakdown to be split approximately 50% to each party. From that rent the Traders representatives are expected to hire and pay for staff and the day to day running costs of the market. There is also a co-contribution to Marketing and Promotions (although the exact breakdown of the costs between the City Council and traders of the marketing and promotions costs and who takes on the responsibility for the conceptualization of the marketing and promotions initiatives was somewhat unclear).

If traders feel that they need more funds they approach and request the IMMB to consider a request for more funds.

Redevelopment Decisions - Given the management structure in place as described above, it is not surprising that all decisions made regarding redevelopments and major works in general are made in a democratic system involving traders at the markets. Usually this process can take a number of years and does require a majority decision for the project to go ahead. From explanations given to my questions it appears that even traders who opt not to trade at the redeveloped market, perhaps due to their unwillingness or inability to pay their part of the costs for either the works or for the fit out of their new stalls, give their consent for the works to take place and then take up an offer from the IMMB which pays traders a fee ( which may be seen as compensation ) for the loss of their stall resulting from the decision to renew the market ( it is my understanding that a m2 rate is offered to traders, which can be accepted or not by the traders. Traders who do not take up that initial offer but don't wish to take up trading in the new market undertake one on one negotiations till they reach a price both parties agree on ).

Overall Impressions - 
The markets are run in a very collaborative manner. There is shared responsibility.
Traders are required to invest in the market not only in lieu of their business location at the market but also by being partly responsible for the day to day running of the market. The Mercat de Sants appeared to be a healthy market.
The renewed market was quite impressive, both aesthetically as well as functionally.
The location of the markets and customer attitudes towards the market make this market (as it does the other markets in Barcelona) quite different to the Queen Victoria Market. Barcelona appears to be continuing its strong cultural and culinary connection to markets. Although a suggestion was made by one of the IMMB representatives that there is a current challenge involving the new generation, but the 30+ age group seems strongly entrenched in market culture.
It may be argued that this is partly/largely due to the continued effort by Barcelona's City Council to continually track and maintain the markets relevance in a changing environment. It may also be true that cultural and demographic change has been slower in Barcelona than in other parts of the western world. At any rate it seems likely that a number of factors have contributed to the continued attractiveness and relevance of Barcelona's markets. They being things like, the strong cultural and historical link to markets, a very clear and consistent vision and policy to keeping markets relevant, the location, number and accessibility of the markets in Barcelona, the relatively few supermarkets or other direct competitors in Barcelona. Add to this a very robust management structure and a continual upkeep both in terms of offer and physical infrastructure and we begin to understand the underpinnings and reasons for the strength and continued viability of Barcelona's markets.