Saturday 11 July 2015

The Future Of Food Hots Up

As Woolworths Holdings (the South African owners of David Jones) eye off the top end of the food market, Aldi make gains in the bottom end, and the two big boys (Coles and Woolworths) fight over the middle ground we wonder what the future holds for QVM.

More than ever QVM needs a clear direction in its food offer. How will QVM food look in coming years, how will we address the slow creep into our domain from a broad range of outside operators, what changes are likely to influence our current traders, and how can they best be part of the future.

Woolworths Holdings has announced that it will look seriously at the top end food market for its recently acquired David Jones chain and attempt to regain the ground that DJs held maybe 10 years ago.  It will also look at the possibility of a chain of stand alone premium food outlets. David Jones food hall used to be the Harrods of Melbourne and successful food halls around the globe indicate that this can be fertile ground for retailers. It should be noted that many markets are included in the list of the great food halls of the world.

Woolworths Australia meanwhile are reported to be looking at smaller footprint stores, possibly under the "Local" brand, as they consider a push into the pre-prepared meals market. On the subject of pre-prepared food, City Councillors have long been touting the benefits of Melbourne CBD's extraordinary apartment growth, and the opportunities that could provide for QVM. Many traders looking for greater numbers of traditional family weekly shoppers are not yet convinced.

QVM traders will be keen to determine their own future as QVM embraces the largest ever renewal project in the city's history. We have a great food offer but anything less than excellence will struggle against the relentless competition. What we need now is leadership supported by open and transparent dialogue between traders, QVM management, the Board and CoM. QVM's listing in the great food halls of the world is at stake.