Friday 29 August 2014

News Briefs From Retail Sources –

News Briefs From Retail Sources –
Wesfarmers have bought the iconic Australian brands of Hard Yakka, King Gee, and Stubbies from Pacific Brands for $180m.

Flight Centre’s profit for 2013/14 was $206.9m, down 16%. Flight Centre have announced the purchase of 90% of UK based tour operator, Topdeck Tours.

Global fashion chain Zara has been criticised for a children’s shirt likened to the concentration camp uniform worn by Jewish prisoners. This follows complaints about a T shirt bearing the slogan “White is the new black”. Zara has pulled the shirts and apologised.

The owners of Hobbyco, the Sydney based hobby business that has been operating for 79 years, say they are contemplating the sale of their business. Hobbyco sales are 7% up on an annual basis as they continue to concentrate on the niche market of hobbies rather than the broader category of toys.

Maggie Beer cops ACCC attention – iconic Australian cooking celebrity Maggie Beer has apologised to the ACCC for a misdemeanour in the labelling of her food products. All Maggie’s product labels include the phrase “Barossa Food Tradition”. Apparently a small number of her products are sourced from outside South Australia.

QVMAC Representatives Focus On Business Activity

There are many competing interests for the participants in our great Queen Victoria Market. There is the role the market plays in the fabric of Melbourne society - the contribution to the City of Melbourne as an iconic tourist attraction – the heritage values of our site – the market’s central role as a food provider – the community benefits – a breeding place for new business - an income provider for thousands of individuals, family businesses, and their associates – and the list goes on.
Trying to be all things on all occasions is extremely difficult and the intensity of a renewal project makes things even more complex. With all this in mind, QVMAC Representatives have drawn up a Focus Statement which attempts to identify our core direction, certainly over the next 6-12 months.
QVMAC Representatives – Focus Statement
1.Protection and Innovation – QVMAC Representatives will protect the interests of traders while fostering innovative improvements to business activity at QVM. Improved business activity will be a prime focus in all our dealings.
2. QVMAC Representatives believe that a professional renewal project that includes appropriate input from Traders, QVM and CoM will provide opportunities for improving our market.

In other words, Representatives are saying we acknowledge that change is ahead, and that renewal has the potential to improve our market. However, improving the business level for traders will be a prime requirement as we make those changes and appropriate input from traders will be essential. Sounds fair enough to us.

Have Your Say – click here.

New Trading Hours Back On Agenda

There seems to be general agreement that our trading hours at QVM are not in tune with customer expectations. As the rest of retailing moves on, is it time we took the plunge and adjusted our trading hours? The CBD is now trading till at least 7:00pm on weekdays.

And rather than just play around with the edges, should we look at a significant change on at least one day, and perhaps turn it into an event with appropriate marketing? Tuesday has been suggested as a candidate with trading to at least 7:00pm and re-jigging the layout under RK, RL, L, (and possibly SBA) to accommodate some form of food and entertainment. 
Not only would we be moving to a more customer friendly time slot but we would be creating the potential for increased business activity, and, as we have identified in another article this week, increased business activity needs to be our focus. The discussion at this stage relates particularly to general merchandise and the top end of the market but our friends in food have asked to be kept in the loop.

This is a complex issue and there are many variables but being innovative with our trading hours has potential for stimulating sales. How can you contribute?
   1. Comment on Have Your Say below.
   2. Email and we will put you on a special email list for regular updates and discussion.
   3. Talk to your QVMAC Representative and ask to be included.

Have Your Say – click here.

Making Christmas Special

A timely reminder from one of our traders -

28/08/2014 22:03:12 Christmas decorations and atmosphere "So it is almost that time of year again, that is, to dust off the grotty old decos from times gone by. Hang a few baubles and that's it  according to management. It is about time that a real effort is made to attract customers with a festive mood in the market. How about a large tree in Queen Street. Fresh and vibrant decorations for ALL the sheds. Colour and movement attract as would wondering carolers. Lets make a real effort and make the VIC a destination for the festive season. We could all benefit from this in more ways than one." Karl American Doughnut Kitchen.

I suspect you have read a few minds in management on this one Karl. I know there was serious consideration being given to 2014 Christmas decorations just a few months back. A good one to follow up on. - Ed.

Have Your Say - click here.

01/09/2014 10:26:23 Christmas decorations "This is something that really needs to be a addressed it would certainly make an improvement to trade. Last time we had a Tree in Queen street the decorations were removed, it was suggested Traders could have been responsible so it does not surprise me management would would not be too keen on that idea" A & J E Shed

Men Buy More From Their Mobiles Than Women

Online shopping has challenged many long held beliefs and the theory that women are the dominant shoppers is apparently no longer true, at least when it comes to buying things through your mobile phone.
A survey has found that 22% of men purchased using their phones in 2013 while only 18% of women did the same. It has been suggested that men are comfortable with the more impersonal method of shopping (online) while women still prefer the social aspects of going shopping with friends. Either way, online shopping by males cannot be ignored as a significant element when chasing sales turnover.

Latest Retail News – 29/8/2014

Latest Retail News – 29/8/2014
1. Cotton On extends its international presence into Brazil.
2. 7-Eleven refutes ACCC claims of petrol price collusion.
3. Italian fashion label, Diesel, re-launches in Australia.
4. Aldi tops customer satisfaction survey again.
5. Pacific Brands sells Yakka rights to Wesfarmers following big losses.
6. Owner of Athlete’s Foot reports record profit.
7. Victoria’s Secret plans smaller store rollout in China.
8. Topshop partners with Uber car-hire app to drive sales.
9. Terry White Chemists launch new beauty concept.
10. Westfield reports 5.3% income growth for 6 months to June.
11. Flight Centre profit tumbles.
12. Marks & Spencer opens food and beverage business in Hong Kong.
13. Owner of Metallicus and Review fashion chains reports 14% profit boost for June 12 months.
14. Hobbyco considers option of new owners.
15. Retail Food Group snaps up La Porchetta and Cafe 2U for $31m.

Busy Meeting For QVMAC Representatives

Tuesday’s Representatives meeting covered over 20 items and heralded added intensity for representatives as we head into a period of consultation driven by new business initiatives around market performance and renewal.
QVMAC Representatives have dedicated Tuesday afternoons to regular meetings and consultation with management. Traders will not be immune from the workload as Representatives seek their feedback on a variety of important issues over coming months. One of the key ingredients of Tuesday’s meeting was the formulation of a Focus Statement that will guide Representatives as we work through those issues.
Here is a list of some of the issues discussed at that meeting. As always, your comments are welcome.
Focus Statement – Representatives compiled a Focus Statement around business activity at QVM and the protection of trader’s interests (see separate article).
Trading Hours – discussion around varying our trading hours to better suit customers needs and improve business levels for traders. This was seen as an opportunity to create a new event on at least one trading day. Representatives will start discussions with management and traders around the most suitable options.
Path Intelligence – this is our new high-tech customer analysis system that has potential for understanding some of the mysteries of customer behaviour at QVM.  The range of data available from this technology is very comprehensive. Two of our Representatives presented a 5 page paper on how to get the most relevant data from all the options available. The aim is to understand customer movement, how that reacts to different times and different events, and how to maximise sales returns.
Christmas Trading – each year brings new variables for Christmas Trading. Representatives and management will be discussing the options.
Consumer Behaviour Report – an interesting series of reports from the Melbourne Business School are being considered by Representatives on a diverse range of consumer attitudes to QVM.
CoM Budget Reports – recently released reports were discussed.
Epping Wholesale Market – discussion around the handling of the move of traders from West Footscray to Epping and what implications there might be for QVM Traders.
Parking Vouchers for Traders – discussion on the new arrangement to assist traders seeking discount vouchers for our car park on weekdays.
Lighting – an update on lighting improvements.
Communications – a number of issues were discussed including trader presentations to the Board and effective feedback to individual trader on matters they raise with management.
Car Park Strategy – Representatives endorsed a motion to question the $8 minimum fee our customers are asked to pay in the car park outside the free hours.

Single Day Absences – single day absences for SL Traders have been approved and we are awaiting the details from management.

Sunday 24 August 2014

Latest Retail News – 24/8/2014

Latest Retail News – 24/8/2014

1. Woolworths lost $176m with Masters in 2014 but remains upbeat.
2. Qantas launches online shopping mall enabling Frequent Flyer points for purchases.
3. Decreasing visitor numbers to Hong Kong causes sales slump.
4. Online sales of perfume and cosmetics expected to slow.
5. Online icon opens first bricks’n’mortar store.
6. New Shanghai shopping centre to showcase the best of Australia.
7. ASIC cautions Aldi over credit card surcharges.
8. Dick Smith beats sales expectations.
9. Kogan launches new skin care range.
10. Selfridges launches artistic window displays around food.
11. Wesfarmers lifts full year profit and increases dividend to shareholders.
12. Reject Shop’s sales slump.
13. Baz Luhrmann theatrics launches new Emporium Centre in Melbourne.
14. Watchdog accuses petrol retailers of colluding on prices.
15. Target US slashes profit outlook.
16. Global convenience store giant, Lawsons, to set up specific stores for aged customers.
17. Surfstitch buys Billabong.
18. Cash Converters take hit from new loan rules.

What Is A “Dark Store”?

Yet another new term is about to enter retail vocabulary and it is “dark store”, a store with no customers. A dark store is a dedicated store for online sales and the term probably arose from developments in the supermarket category.

Online supermarket sales were often handled by individual stores in the neighbourhood of the customer. But it was soon found that dedicated stores or warehouses could handle online orders more efficiently than stores dedicated to foot traffic customers.

Dark stores are laid out like a supermarket but with variations to suit online buying habits. For instance, a large proportion of online customers are families with children so the space devoted to things like nappies, toilet paper, and washing powder are different to traditional supermarkets.

Online food buying represents only around 2% of total food sales but with the trend on the rise, we can expect more dark stores to be built.

Democracy In Action

Trader, and QVMAC Representative, Joe Stolarek has long held a view that a properly designed above ground car park was the best option for our QVM.

Joe has pushed his view with fellow QVMAC Representatives, traders, and QVM management. It is fair to say that he has been working against a tide of views that believed there were better options. But at the Council meeting on Tuesday 12th August Joe had his say in front of 11 Melbourne City Councillors and 50-60 traders. During his submission on weather-proofing over F shed Joe mentioned his car park views.

Joe’s views may, or may not, have swayed car park thinking but he will be the first to admit that he has been able to take his views to a very high level. Communicating with your QVMAC Representatives will ensure that your views are heard. You could also comment below on any topic.

Intelligent Customer Monitoring Arrives At QVM

Possibly the single biggest innovation in understanding our customers and their buying behaviour, gave out its first results this week.  

Path Intelligence is a cutting edge system of tracking customer movements around our complex market. It has been in the pipeline for many months and results from a combined effort of management and trader representatives. Understanding where customers enter our market, where they go, and how long they dwell, are all crucial markers.

Making the right decisions about things like layout, trading hours, stall mix, are greatly benefitted by hard data. For instance when we have a special event in the market we can now track how many people attend and what they do afterwards. Do they move into the food halls or the upper market to generate more business for traders? Which events are most successful at generating add-on sales?

The Path Intelligence system is in its early stages of reporting. It will be tweaked over coming weeks and months to give us optimum results and QVMAC Representatives are working closely with QVM Management in this preparation. It is early days but the transition from rubbery counting methods used in the past to new technology is exciting.

Path Intelligence has potential to give us very useful information. What is almost as exciting is that its introduction has come about through collaboration between management and traders working together in a common cause – improving business levels at QVM through better understanding of our customers.

Christmas Trading Arrangements

It is time to plan Christmas Trading arrangements and how we accommodate the different requirements of food and non-food categories. This is an important business time of year and deciding on trading arrangements can be quite complex.

Christmas Day falls on a Thursday this year with New Years Day also on a Thursday
Food will likely be seeking to trade on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve (both falling on a Wednesday) to link up with family food requirements.
General merchandise will be seeking to trade on days that are likely to attract crowds to the market.

Last year the market traded for seven straight days leading up to Christmas and general merchandise took up an offer for free rent on the Monday before Christmas with some favourable results. This year there will be the complication of a night market clash on the Wednesday.

There are many aspects to the Christmas trading debate including-
-        How do we best meet the needs of our customers?
-        How far do we promote ourselves as Melbourne’s premier retail outlet?
-        Do we need to show a united front with all departments open at the same time?
-        Should we trade on Boxing Day (a Friday)?

QVMAC Representatives will be considering this issue at a meeting next Tuesday and, if you would like to contribute to the discussion, here is your chance.

Friday 22 August 2014

The Milk Crate Shuffle

Our army of QVM stall assemblers tend to their job in the background with little acclaim, but one unique talent that hasn't escaped our attention is the "Milk Crate Shuffle" which brings those higher assembly jobs back within reach. Not recommended for everyone.

Traders Training Session - Sustainability

Sustainability: It’s Just Good Business reveals the financial and marketing benefits available to your business from introducing simple green initiatives.

With every $100 saved through environmental initiatives equating to an additional $1,000 in sales for most small businesses, this seminar will help you to save on your energy costs and develop an effective approach to implementing a sustainability action plan.

Is this seminar for me?
This seminar is suitable for new, emerging and existing business owners and managers who want to know how they can cut their operating costs through implementing simple sustainability actions.

How will this seminar help my business?You will learn how to:
  • Assess the organisational, financial and marketing benefits of becoming a more sustainable business
  • Determine whether a flexible pricing offer for your electricity bill will benefit your business
  • Identify areas of focus for sustainable business practices
  • Put in place a strategic plan to take action
  • Measure and evaluate your new sustainable business practices

Seminar Details:
Host:          Queen Victoria Market         
When:        Wednesday 10th October 2014
Time:         9.30am to 11.30am      
Where:      Small Business Information Centre, 113 Exhibition Street,

Booking Options:

Phone:       Customer Service on 9320 5822

NOTE: In response to a trader query we have received an update on course content from Victoria Niewalda- "I have asked the facilitator to focus on buying processes, logistics, environmental impact, social impact, and other elements that would suit a market stall operator."

Traders Training Session – Marketing For Growth

Marketing for Growth will help you to put in place effective marketing strategies to grow your business.
This workshop will help you to achieve your growth targets by identifying areas for improvement in communication, development of products or services and working more effectively to meet the needs of your target market.
Is this workshop for me?
Marketing for Growth has been developed for existing business owners planning to expand their business. Participants should have a good understanding of the market they are operating in and be looking to increase the effectiveness of their marketing activities.
How will this workshop help my business? You will learn how to:
Match your product or service offering to customer needs
Identify areas where you need to improve your marketing and communication activity to achieve growth targets
Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and activities
Develop comprehensive business and marketing plans designed to grow your business

Workshop Details:

When: Wednesday 3 September 2014 Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm
Where: Small Business Information Centre, 113 Exhibition Street

Booking Options:

Phone: Customer Service 03 9320 5822

Sunday 17 August 2014

Latest Retail News – 17/08/2014

Latest Retail News – 17/08/2014

1. Prada predicts slower demand in Asia and Europe.
2. Paul Zahra quits as CEO of David Jones.
3. Father’s Day expected to generate 3% sales increase over 2013 with personal care products leading.
4. Domino Pizza reports profit rise on back of 44 new stores across Australia and NZ.
5. PayPal mobile terminals on sale in Officeworks.
6. Wotifs profit slides.
7. International brands move to quieter areas of Hong Kong for cheaper rents.

Donate To Red Cross And Make Your Accountant Happy

Red Cross are installing a pop-up shop under the Therry St. Plaza flagpoles on Friday 22nd August to accept donations of goods from QVM traders.
Red Cross will be happy to accept any saleable goods which will become stock in their shops and contribute to funding all their good work around the globe.
Donations are fully tax deductable so we understand you hand over the goods, identify a reasonable business value, and receive a receipt for that value which will become a business deduction for tax purposes.
Sounds like a great cause and a great way to convert unwanted stock to something useful.


Wine Event In "A" Shed On Video

Those of you who joined the 1000 or so patrons to take a free lunch on a Sunday in A shed recently (courtesy of Jacobs Creek) might like to check out this video.

Submission To Council By Greg Smith

Following is Greg Smith's submission to City Council on Tuesday night.

"Long Term Gain/ Short Term Pain – submission to Future Melbourne Committee – 12/8/2014 – Agenda Item 6.6 – QVM Precinct Renewal.

When traders approached our Lord Mayor a few years ago requesting that something be done about the state of business at QVM we didn't quite expect that we would be launched into a full-on renewal. 
We knew that some changes would be required. Global retailing has gone through an upheaval. Major players have fallen by the wayside. The category of public markets has suffered significant decline with many long term markets seriously challenged. Adapting to the impact of a new consumerism is proving very difficult. Just ask our major department stores.

The CoM saw a renewal as the way forward for QVM and the financing of up to $250m is a very welcome ingredient. Traders understand that key infrastructure like weather proofing our market and creating enjoyable public areas don’t come from pocket money. We understand that change will be needed if we are to get more people to our market. We understand that the key to getting more people is to be relevant to today’s consumers, and even better to become an irresistible magnet to locals and visitors. We are confident that we all understand the renewal of a public retail market has special ingredients that are quite different to mainstream retailing. The long term gain to our market and its traders from a well resourced renewal is enticing.

But there will be short term pain. Item 1 in the major components of the Community Engagement is “Adaption and enhancement of Upper Market Sheds A, B and C, to support market trading.” That translates to an underground car park – a major construction undertaking, going down 3 or 4 floors with accompanying noise, dust, barriers, vehicles, and general obstruction. And we won’t be able to escape that. Traders will be attempting to conduct business nearby, maybe within 20 metres.

Did I say “short term pain”? Guesstimates on the time necessary to achieve such a construction range from 1 to 4 years. Modest, fragile businesses recovering from a GFC, in the middle of a period of new consumerism, are not ready for, and may not survive, business interference of this type. And our problem is that we haven’t gone into any detail about what a temporary market next to a construction zone will involve.  In a sense, this timing is all wrong. We should have thrashed out an understanding of what a temporary market might be like before you were asked to consider this proposal. All we can do at this stage is wave a red flag and say there are major issues for us and we are ready, willing and able to sit down and work through them in a collaborative way.

Greg Smith
QVMAC Representative  

Attachment: Market Precinct Overhead (Source: Capire Report Phase 2)"

An audio version of the council meeting can be found here (the QVM proposal starts 1:42:20 into the meeting) -

Submission To Council By Jenny Pyke

Following is Jenny Pyke's submission to the City Council on Tuesday night - 

"Submission To Council 12.08.14
I would like to outline the consultation process to date
My name is Jenny Pyke and I am a member of the QVMAC
We are grateful for the opportunity to speak and we are grateful for the support the Council has shown the Queen Victoria Market and the Queen Victoria Market  traders
This is an enormous commitment from the city of Melbourne towards the QVM, a sum of 250 million dollars has been reported in the press.
The QVM has approximately 700 small businesses who derive their income and  provide income for another estimated 2000 staff and supply millions of customers annually.
These businesses in turn support thousands of  other businesses. Many of our traders  have merit awards from the Lord Mayor for their long term commitment to the City of Melbourne's prosperity
 Traders went to Council looking for investment after many years of what we consider minimal investment to the market .When The Lord Mayor back in October last year  announced the redevelopment of the QVM we looked forward to robust discussions about the what , how and why of the redevelopment.
What occurred were three single low level information sessions with Capire during round 1
The results of the first round of Capire were amazingly similar to the plans talked about in the Leader in 2010 and then subsequently released in the Age in April 2013
The traders were then  very anxious and worried at the low level of consultation with them and made many individual submissions reinforcing they were against  an Underground car park and the  implications for the traders at the QVM.
Traders then held two large meetings totalling over 270 traders who were unanimously against the underground carpark below AB&C Sheds.
This was reported to Capire before the finalization of the second round at the Information Hub in F shed
In the Capire report there is no mention of the outcome of these meetings in the subsequent report
The outcome of this meeting was also presented to the  QVM board on  asking how do we get the process back on track.  No questions were asked  at the meeting or formal responses given  to the QVMAC regarding this presentation
At every stage we have asked when does real consultation happen with the traders
At this stage the collaboration with the traders has been minimal. The final Capire report was only verbally released  to the QVMAC with no copies of the report forwarded to the QVMAC  for formal feedback
It is difficult not to believe that the Consultation process was carefully orchestrated
to reflect a predetermined outcome :
This is an important project and one which needs collaboration to get the best possible outcome

At this point the traders cannot support the recommendations of the Report."

An audio version of the council meeting can be found here (the QVM proposal starts 1:42:20 into the meeting) -

Stall Racks For Sale

Stall Racks For Sale

Terry from Airllywood has contacted us to offer his racking for sale. The racking was used for fashion display and measures 5m by 5m with a central display section. The tubing is 2mm blue steel square and is available for $250 the lot, pick up from Chelsea.

Contact Terry on 0408 755 406.

The Age Reports On Unhappy Market Traders

The Age published a report following Tuesday night’s Council meeting which highlighted concerns over an underground car park and the process of consultation.

“Queen Victoria Market Advisory Committee member Greg Smith said they had interpreted one of the five components, which pledges to adapt and enhance market sheds A, B and C, to mean that council was going ahead with a new underground car park under the sheds.
Mr Smith said the “short term pain” caused by the car park construction could last for between one and four years.
An underground car park with noise, dirt, barriers and obstructions is certainly going to impact on traders’ businesses,” Mr Smith said. “We need to look at a lot more detail before we can proceed further.””

“ Traders told Tuesday night’s Future Melbourne Committee Meeting that they had unanimously voted to reject the underground car park plan, yet no mention of this had been in the latest community engagement report by Capire Consulting. Instead the report had concluded the public mood was that “moving the car park underground was sensible.
Queen Victoria Market Advisory Committee member Jenny Pike [Pyke] said it appeared as though the consultation process was aimed at supporting a “predetermined outcome”.

Car Park Back On The Table

Tuesday night’s Council meeting heralded another significant shift in the ongoing renewal discussions at QVM. An underground car park on the site of A, B, and C sheds was a preferred option for QVM and was a significant ingredient in the Capire consultations.
Traders have voiced their opposition to the unfavourable impact of a significant construction like an underground car park and expressed their concerns to the QVM Board and now the City Council. We are pleased to advise that the various car park options are now back on the table for consideration and negotiation. That doesn’t mean that an underground car park will not happen, nor does it mean that Council are likely to approve an above ground car park on the current site but it does mean that all options will be re-visited and perhaps some new ones brought up for evaluation.

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Council Embraces Trader Concerns

Let's get one thing straight - council ignored traders advice at tonight's committee meeting and voted through the recommendation to endorse 5 key elements of the Capire report including the possibility of an underground car park. But they did it in such a nice way that traders left with some reassurance that they were being seriously listened to.
As Councillor Mayne put it, this endorsement is essentially a vehicle to get State Government approval to hand over the Franklin St. triangle to the City of Melbourne. The sale of that land will kick start our renewal.
With an estimated 50-60 traders in the meeting chamber we certainly dominated numbers and we behaved ourselves very well. Leah's young Austin behaved impeccably during a 3.5 marathon meeting although it did take John Magno to argue with The Lord Mayor (John later apologised) to remind Councillors they were dealing with passionate traders.
A number of traders, ex-traders, and one customer gave verbal presentations to the meeting with a common theme of disagreement with the underground car park proposal and distrust of the engagement process. Our CEO, Jan Cochrane-Harry also spoke about her role.
Councillors seemed united in the view that the decline of business at QVM had to be addressed and that doing nothing was not an acceptable option. Councillors highlighted the apparent anomaly of traders complaining about declining trade while refusing measures designed to correct the situation. Trader presenters on the other  hand emphasised the importance of meaningful collaboration to make sure we got things right.    
Possibly the single most important result of the meeting was the fact that we have opened the door for direct discussion with city Councillors and they were generally supportive of our situation.

To Have Your Say click here.

13/08/2014 12:03:38 Council Embraces Trader Concerns "Having not attended this meeting, is it safe to say form this article, that despite the questions of the traders at the meeting, the council approved, the proposals set out in the Capire Reports?
To date l have read through a lot of both reports, and they both seem to follow the initial outline of the Lord Mayor and State Govt announcement before any of these consultations took place.
The comments that traders are asking for things to be done to improve business, but not willing to make change is also unfair. Many traders accept that changes need to be made to improve business, but an underground carpark, and turning us into the Fed Square of the North is not the answer.
There are so many things that could be done, to improve the market, without these being the only option. It feels as though they have their blinkers on, and this is the only option, and nothing else could possibly work to improve our business. 
My question is, what happens if this fails, and our business still does not improve?
Maybe l should look at selling up and moving on before its to late....." Lance Dyer

14/08/2014 1740hrs Council Embraces Trader Concerns - "Lance, I think it is unfair to suggest that an underground car park and public square are the only issues being pushed for the market. We certainly have things like weather proofing, retail performance measurement, and a cohesive vision for the market, currently on the table and under discussion.
On the question of change, it is true that many traders are prepared to accept change. You have actively pushed for a review of our trading hours for instance. But some traders are in denial. They say don't change anything, just give us more customers. As I submitted to Council on Tuesday night, more customers will come from making our market an irresistible magnet to locals and visitors. Sadly, we are not irresistible enough as the decline in our sales shows. We need to examine the environment we invite customers to visit and the offer we traders make when they get here.
Change will be needed and traders like you will need to lead the charge." - Greg Smith

Monday 11 August 2014

Submission To Council On Tuesday

As reported in a previous article, QVMAC Representatives are preparing submissions for presentation to the Council (Future Melbourne Committee) on Tuesday evening.
We will attempt to get notes on each submission on to this website before the actual meeting. Submissions can be made either verbally or in writing. Here is Ivano’s proposed submission.

“We would like to speak on behalf of the non food vendors at the Market. Once known as 'Fancy Goods', more recently and commonly described as 'General Merchandise'.

We have been at the market pretty well from its inception, and for decades now have been the largest component of the Market, already in the early 70's we were and continue to make up over 60% of the market.

We are, for some, not the sexy part or the pretty part of the market but we are the part that has consistently provided the greatest share of the rental income stream of the market. By our calculations we are often providing between $150-170,000 per week. We have jokingly referred to ourselves as the 'Peoples Bank of QVM'. Where money readily goes out but very little money, or interest or love comes back.

Yes, historically, it has seemed to us that very few people in council or management have been interested in our area, historically there has been little interest in our customer base, in advertising, promoting or marketing our area, there has been little interest in lighting our area, or air circulation, or how to deal with extreme weather effects, and the list could go on (and on), because honestly, there has been little apparent interest in us at all really, except collecting our rents, that is. We tried for many years to request and eventually plead with management to show greater interest to the challenges and difficulties we were facing, to the changing nature of the retail world we were competing with and the need to take these issues seriously. But with what we felt was very little results or serious engagement.

So it was that traders, primarily General Merchandise traders, some 2.5 years ago requested to speak to the Lord Mayor who generously received us.
And here we are now, after we asked for greater interest in us and our challenges, what do we appear to be getting in response?

The message we are hearing is: "We would like you to make space for other things, we would like you to shift and downsize".
To many traders that seems very much like, thank you very much for your money all these years, but we don't need or want you any more.

It's not too hard to understand why there is frustration and fear.
Why there is anger and suspicion.

General Merchandise traders, the traders that make up 60% of the market, the traders that have been paying their rents week in week out for half a century and beyond and have generally felt unloved and uncared for is not feeling a lot of love now either.

This is not just about the underground car park, this issue goes a lot deeper. And whilst some recent changes in management, the Board and Council have resulted in there being far greater transparency and what appears to be sincere interest shown towards listening to our plight ( with the public release of documents like Governance Protocols for Wholly Owned Subsidiary Companies / QVM Pty Ltd 2014-15 Business Plan / Board Participation at QVMAC meetings and many other collaborative initiatives), whilst this is certainly welcome progress, unfortunately, after so many years under a very different management style, it must be said that many traders are still in doubt as to whether that interest extends very much beyond current levels, and whether they may not purely be a temporary change in approach.

So here we are, at a cross roads.
Can there be true collaboration?
Can there be some real interest shown to the largest component of the market?
Is this really all about "enhancing and supporting market trading"?

The plan as it stands at the moment gives very little to no real detail to help us accurately understand the answers to those questions, but it does give plenty to worry about. 
Can General Merchandise traders really be expected to support it? 
Not until we get more detail, detail about what it actually will accomplish and how it will accomplish those stated objectives.

Will it truly enhance and support market trading?
We cant say as we haven't really seen anything yet.
We believe we can say with certainty though that it will disrupt trading and cause a major upheaval to our area of the market.

WILL we support it? 
If it does truly "enhance and support market trading" of course we will support it. 
But with so little detail and reliable factual information about what is going to be done and how it is going to be done along with the resulting consequences to traders and trade, at this point it is difficult for GM traders to be terribly excited and supportive. 
We are NOT saying no, but we cannot give unreserved support until we see clearly what the plans and proposals are. 

Just as we are wary about the detail, we ask you to be also.

It is indeed time to endorse the "enhancement" and give "support (to) market trading"!
It is time to review the performance of the market and how it is dealing with the ever changing retail environment it competes against.
It is time to return the Queen Victoria Market to its premier position as one of the worlds greatest market.

Is your endorsement of the current proposal the way to achieve that?
We would love to be able to say "Yes, endorse this proposal" but can't until we see more detail.”

This draft was amended 1409hrs 11/8/2014

13/08/2014 12:12:11 Submission To Council On Tuesday "Well written Ivano.
Maybe we should have just asked, would you like us to all pack up on Sunday night and not return?
That would make it easier for them....
As a group, maybe we should all get together, buy a parcel of land, and make our own new VIC MARKET, and run it the way it should be. We all might be better of in the long run." Lance Dyer