Monday 31 August 2015

Don't Read This - The Rebels Amongst Us

Every now and then an editor writes a piece that he or she knows is not mainstream, a little out of left field, and a little abstract. The sort of article that you know is going to get a "What is that all about!" reaction from some readers. This is one of those articles. It concerns the rebels amongst us at QVM.

I was reading a web article (the subject doesn't matter) and there were a number of comments made by readers at the end. A tagline on one of the comments caught my eye. Taglines are usually a pithy sort of comment that a person attaches to all their comments. It might be something like - "The future isn't what it used to be" or (and I love this one) "If your feet smell and your nose runs, you're built upside down."

But this is the tagline that caught my eye - "The truth is out there.Trust no one.Deny everything.Admit nothing.Accuse everyone." - and I realised that a number of QVM Traders could have written that tagline. At QVM we have a number of traders who believe that their sole purpose in life is to "keep the bastards honest". And, it is true that every worthy idea or project deserves careful analysis but if your only purpose in life is to question without actually doing the analysis then, do we really need your views? It is easy to be critical and maybe that is why we have so many criticisers amongst us. But it is an unhealthy culture, and one that can rapidly get in the way of achieving progress.

Entrepreneurial progress requires a degree of chance. Successfully navigating through our current global retail recession will involve breaking some new ground and a little experimenting. "A ship in the harbour is safe but that is not what it was built for." Getting a balance in the issues surrounding QVM should be our aim. Are traders entitled to express their opinion? Of course they are, but uninformed criticism has a price. It doesn't do justice to important issues, and it can cast a negative or cynical pall over progress. QVM's rebels have a lot to answer for.

Of course many of history's rebels weren't just rebellious. They were creative thinkers and if they had been market traders they probably would have been entrepreneurs. At QVM we need fewer rebels and more entrepreneurs.

As the title suggests, this article is not for everyone. But if you have read this far, thanks for reading.

Tagline "Constant change is here to stay."

31/08/2015 16:22:20 Greg's latest article "A cat amongst the pigeons.....go Greg,!"
Thanks for your input - Ed.

01/09/2015 06:42:53 re taglines article "This was spot on ,agree with editor 100%." Andy
Thanks for your input Andy - Ed.

Sunday 30 August 2015

Retail News Briefs - 30/8/2015

Billabong Records First Profit In 4 Years – Surfwear brand, Billabong, has recorded its first full year profit in 4 years with a $4.2m profit to 30th June 2015 following a disastrous $230m+ loss last year. Billabong credit growth in US and European sales for the improvement.

PayPal Introduces Convenient One-Touch Payments to Australia. The traditional PayPal log-in process can now be replaced with a one-touch payment system as PayPal ups the convenience factor for its retailers. A number of traders at QVM are already using the PayPal system as their preferred merchant facility.

Woolworths New Chairman - Woolworths has reacted to a 12.5% profit slump by appointing former David Jones, and current Origin Chairman, Gordon Cairns, to the role of Chairman. 

Upcoming Trader/Management Meetings

Re-branding - Two final information sessions on market re-branding are coming up this week. They will be held at the Engagement Hub, 452 Queen St., on Tuesday 1st September and Thursday 3rd September from 3:00pm although we understand that arriving by 3:30 will ensure you don't miss out. The sessions will give traders an insight into our new logo and the marketing promotion that surrounds its launch. 
It would be a good idea for all traders to become familiar with the re-branding before the story hits the press so that they can adequately inform customers.

Trading Ideas - These new information sessions have been introduced as a way for traders to engage with each other and management in an informal discussion outside normal market hours. 
It is intended that the sessions will become a regular opportunity to share ideas and information about a range of themes. The first session is to be held at the Engagement Hub at 452 Queen St., on Monday 7th September between 4:00pm and 6:00pm to discuss "The Markets of Barcelona". Light refreshments will be served after the session.
Traders have been asked to book a place by emailing , phoning 9320 5822, or calling in to the F1 shop.

Market Life On Melbourne Day

The Herald Sun this weekend has a feature on Melbourne Day which, on 30th August each year, marks the founding of Melbourne in 1835.

The Herald Sun article lists 7 things you must do in Melbourne to experience the variety of diverse activities and sites our city has to offer. One of those seven things is to visit the Queen Victoria Market for an iconic bratwurst at Carl Greco's Bratwurst Shop in the Deli Hall.

Carl has already featured on this week after receiving a silver award at the Lord Mayor's Commendations on Monday. It is nice to see his smiling face on our pages again.

Friday 28 August 2015

Traders Receive Lord Mayor's Commendations

The Lord Mayor's Commendations are an annual event recognising the contribution of small business to the City of Melbourne. The awards have been going since 2004 and many QVM traders have received their gongs.
This year there were four recipients, all from the QVM Dairy Hall. Congratulations to Carl Greco from the Bratwurst Shop and Carolina & Diana Mikulik from Nut Trek who all received silver awards. They were joined by Catherine Underhill from McIver's Coffee & Tea Merchants who received a bronze award.
Catherine Underhill
Carl Greco
Diana Mikulik

Carolina Mikulik

Romance At QVM

Caricaturist, Ivano, has worked at his fair share of special social events including weddings. His caricatures have a real personal element to them but today's visit from a young couple was more romantic than most with the bridegroom-to-be using the occasion to propose to his future wife. Smiles all round as you can see in our photos.

Have Your Say - click here.

General Merchandise Write-downs At Woolies

Woolworths Reacts To Profit Downturn – Woolworths has posted a 12.5% drop in full year profit and been handed a credit rating downgrade. It has responded by appointing a new chairman with ex David Jones chairman, and current Origin chairman, Gordon Cairns taking over the reins.

A number of write-downs included $148m in general merchandise inventory at Big W. Woolworths non-food business was a big factor in the profit decline according to a report on the ABC which also referred to competition from the likes of Aldi and Costco.

Adelaide Market To Lure Shoppers With Free Parking

Adelaide’s Central Market is a CBD market just like QVM and they have come up with a unique car parking offer to lure city workers away their suburban shopping centres.

They are offering free parking between 3:00pm and 6:00 pm to encourage city workers to shop in the city BEFORE they head for home in the suburbs. The trial is to operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays commencing 1st September.

Of course at QVM we would have to increase our trading hours for this arrangement to make sense, but it does seem worth a look. Maybe free parking could be included in  QVM’s Friday night shopping trial on Therry St.

Have Your Say – click here.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Respect- What It Means At QVM

A lot of respect happens at QVM but there are areas where respect needs our constant vigilance and later in this article we will look at what we can learn from the E Shed Food Court issue.

Respect is probably most noticeable amongst traders. Traders represent a huge variety of nationalities, languages and beliefs. In the wider world that variety has some well known hot-spots; some antagonisms that can end in disaster. Yet, at QVM, traders from potentially antagonistic backgrounds work side by side in relative harmony.

At QVM traders have a common bond. We are all working together in that most noble of pursuits – earning a living to support our families. We know that what we do as traders reflects on our neighbours and the whole market family. Which is why the few causes of conflict between traders usually relate to those who are not doing the right thing – parking vehicles in empty stalls, leaving storage boxes in the aisles - things that show lack of respect for the workplace in which we all hope to earn a living. In short, we respect each other’s right to trade.

The picture is a little more difficult when we look at trader/management relations. Showing respect doesn’t come so easy here and this is probably because of an uncomfortable past history. There is little doubt that the standard of communication (and respect) between traders and the first line of management, Market Officers, has improved dramatically over recent times. Market Officers have shown a capacity for informing, discussing and negotiating in a professional manner that was lacking in “the bad old days”. Our working environment is complex and retailing has severe challenges. Given these circumstances the standards of mutual respect probably deserve a tick at this level.

Lack of respect is a key for traders. It is often a major element when traders get upset at management actions and the difficulties over the F Shed/E Shed Food Court is a clear example. It would appear that management had a clear plan for presenting their Food Court concept but it had a major flaw. It didn’t respect those traders who were going to be displaced by the plan – incredibly there were 38 traders affected by the displacement of just 9 double stalls at the top of E Shed. F Shed Traders received their marketing briefing and for them the plan had plenty of positives. The E Shed traders received letters advising them they were going to be moved and that they would be advised of their options later. It is easy to be wise after the event but that lack of planning and detail has been interpreted as lack of respect for the 38 traders.

We probably need to correct an impression that some higher levels of management, and city councillors seem to have. Traders who set-up and pack-up each day are not immune to change. There are aspects of their business operations that require consistency and stability. Yes, setting up your stall each day requires flexibility, but getting it right for each stall location takes time and practice. The position of your stall, its size, the configuration of your neighbour’s set-up, all require adaption. And making sure that your customers find you is a key requirement. If you are moving stalls, little things like your pre-printed business cards and your website entries require amendment. These are not insurmountable difficulties but they do require pre-planning. Neglecting that pre-planning could be seen as lack of respect.

The F Shed/E Shed Food Court process is not a disaster. These are things that can be fixed and although the process seems to have stalled there is presumably still room for negotiation. We should remember that a number of trader moves over the last 12 months or so have been done efficiently and with high levels of trader satisfaction. Those moves included the sort of consideration (let’s call it respect) that is necessary in trader/management relations. We just need to get it right every time.

Have Your Say – click here

24/08/2015 13:44:38 E Shed "It is not a matter of negotiation when the majority almost 100%  do not wish to move again under the guise of helping  F Shed Traders.  Seems to be a farce." LB   E Shed
Its a shame that the door seems to be closed to negotiation LB. Thanks for your input. - Ed

GST On Online Purchases.

Federal and State Governments have finally agreed that GST will apply on overseas purchases under $1000 from 1st July 2017. Previously sales in this category were exempt from GST which caused concern amongst Australian retailers fearing they were being disadvantaged.

It has yet to be decided exactly how the tax will be collected with consumer advocacy groups warning that a tax may be applied on parcel pickup.

Latest Retail News – 22/8/2015

Latest Retail News – 22/8/2015
1. South African fashion retailer, Mr Price, to open at Melbourne Central in October.
2. Specialty Fashion Groups earnings dragged down by Rivers losses.
3. Dick Smiths reports profit improvement.
4. Myers new Hobart store to open in time for Christmas.
5. Reject Shop profit slides 2% but better expected next year.
6. Victorian retailers lash out at new public holiday.
7. US online flash sales (deal of the day) retailer, Zulily, sold for $2.6billion.
8. Australian Banks hold off on Apple Pay.
9. Nordstrom’s online sales now 20% of revenue, mainly mobile.
10. Big W Managing Director resigns.
11. Target showing signs of turnaround in Australia.
12. Uniglo to experiment with 3 day weekend for staff in exchange for 10 hour days.

Melbourne’s Accolades Continue

Melbourne has been given top spot on the Economist Intelligence Units liveability ranking for the world’s major cities. The EIU ranking measures availability of goods and services, low personal risk and an effective infrastructure. It does not measure the cost of living.

Melbourne came in ahead of Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Adelaide. As a matter of interest the world’s least liveable cities were Tripoli in Libya, Lagos in Nigeria, and Port Moresby in PNG.

Wikipedia lists two other liveability ranking surveys. Monocle Magazines “Most Liveable Cities Index” places Melbourne 4th on the world list behind Tokyo, Vienna and Berlin, whilst the US Mercer “Quality of Living Survey” which purports to help multi-national companies decide on locations and pay for employees does not include Melbourne in its top 10.

More Trader Thoughts On Events At QVM

John Magno has been praised for his idea on making the new Victorian public holiday, Grand Final Friday, a special trading day with extended hours. It would appear that there is insufficient time to get the logistics right for this year but 2016 will be in our sights.

In the meantime John has some thoughts on events in A shed following the vacating of the Fruit & Vegetable traders on the north side of the aisle. We understand that the new open space is to be available soon and John considers that it would be an ideal spot for food festival type operations and in fact preferable to Queen St. Rather than clutter up Queen St. and draw crowds out of the sheds we could draw crowds in to the sheds and enhance the experience for the Victoria St. shops at the same time. John’s idea appears to have merit.

Got some ideas that you would like to test on Just write to us or contact Greg Smith on 0406 222 020.

24/08/2015 08:45:15 Events being moved into a shed "The most sane idea I have heard in ages. Instead of  dividing the market into halves that would give it a flow because people would have to walk down the isles in most cases to get there a great idea if it is taken up. What do other people think of this? "

Thief Caught On Camera At QVM

Trader Mino has security cameras at his stall and he managed to capture this vision of a customer helping himself to some of his top-of-the-range leather goods. It is a fairly long video and we must congratulate Mino on the quality of his presentation. More news after the video.

As you can see the bags were returned. Apparently our culprit was caught in an adjoining aisle and Mino's approach was interesting. He congratulated the customer on finding his lost bags and asked where he found them? The customer vaguely pointed and handed back the bags. This thief had acted quite calmly up until now but when Mino asked him to wait for the arrival of security so they could record details he suddenly took flight in a very undignified way. 
Finally, congratulations to Mino's alert neighbour for pointing out the theft.

Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Market News Briefs – 16/8/2015

Top-end Markets – One of our traders commented on our article about the importance of artisan traders
09/08/2015 21:51:46 artisan traders "Unfortunately judging by the number of traders at this weeks craft offering and the seemingly declining numbers over the past few weeks they will need more Management support & promoting to help them thrive and grow in numbers and trading  reputation." We discussed this issue with a management representative and they confirmed that the offer on the Sunday in question was below expectations. Apparently 2 key operators pulled out at the last minute due to a broken down vehicle. 
Each week's offer will vary as different groups take up the opportunity to trade at QVM. The variety of activities will include craft, vintage clothing, and yarn based displays with groups like Men's Shed participating later in the year. We expect that management will be keeping a close eye on the quality of the displays.

STOP PRESS: - Thanks to the trader who sent us this photo this afternoon indicating that today's market at the top of C Shed seemed better attended.

Grand Final Friday Proposal -  John Magno's proposal for extended trading on Grand Final Friday -( ) has received a generally favorable response from traders.  Early indications from management are that we would need a longer lead time to organise such a comprehensive change to normal Friday operations so we may need to leave this one until 2016. 
We have yet to consider how Grand Final Friday will be treated otherwise although a number of traders seem to think this should just be a normal Friday trading day.

F Shed/E Shed Food Court - We note that discussions on this matter are still underway, particularly to sort out the detail for displaced traders and we hope to have more news next week.

Latest Retail News – 16/8/2015

Latest Retail News – 16/8/2015
1. JB HiFi beats profit expectations.
2. Dominos lifts full year profit by 40%.
3. ACCC approves Staples acquisition of Office Depot.
4. New terminal at Melbourne Airport will include first full line airport store for Country Road.
5. Melbourne Market Week to commence on 5th September.

Collins St Becomes Luxury Mecca

The list of international luxury brands heading for Melbourne's Collins St. Is impressive - Hermes, Dior, Longchamp, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Coach, TAG, and Christian Louboutin.

According to CBRE this trend is largely driven by Melbourne's growing tourism industry as the lower Australian dollar makes luxury buying more affordable for international visitors.

Collins St. landlords a enjoying record rents as vacancy rates remain close to zero and the attraction of Collins St. spreads beyond the traditional Paris end. CBRE says that in return many of the internationals are recording impressive turnover figures.

Respecting Our Workplace - History In K & L Sheds

When you work in an environment, day in day out, it is easy to take your surroundings for granted even in the unusual historical setting of our own K and L sheds at The Queen Victoria Market. But this is one environment that deserves to be respected.

Our building is from another era with its heavy steel girders, and rivetted cross braces, arches, and supports. When you are concentrating on earning a living from the market, the structure might take a back seat although it is obviously important as a weather protector and a location point for many of our shop fittings. And it gets pretty rough treatment as we go through the process of setting up and packing up our stalls each day – forklifts, storage boxes, shop fittings, vehicles and even simple things like ropes, tapes and hooks all take their toll on the structure.

K & L Sheds were constructed in 1923 and you might notice a name on some of the posts –
Dorman Long & Co. Dorman Long were a famous English steel company with a long tradition of constructing top quality steel structures in the early 20th century. In fact one of their more famous projects was a little thing called the Sydney Harbour Bridge which was started a year after K & L Sheds were put up. Both structures use hand driven rivets for assembly and you can see these clearly in our sheds.

Hand driven rivets were a very robust part of steel construction and they were used in various industries including ship building. Rivets were heated in a furnace adjacent to the work site, quickly inserted in pre-drilled holes and then flattened with hydraulic rams to secure the joint. It was time consuming work requiring skilled labour.

Dorman Long at the time were a universal guarantee of quality in steel manufacture and fabrication. This might explain why our sheds have survived so well. In today’s throw-away society that longevity is rare. So the next time you see a trader or their worker bashing fittings against some of our 90 year old steelwork, give them a tap on the shoulder and suggest they treat the old girl with some respect. This is an historic place and we want to get another 500 or so years out of her.

Thank you to Tim Moore for inspiring this story.

Friday 14 August 2015

QVM Re-branding Picks Up Pace

The official date for the release of QVM’s new logo and positioning statement is 4th September but traders are getting a sneak preview of the event.

Traders in String Bean Alley, the Dairy Hall, Victoria St. and Queen St. have received a briefing in from marketing Director, Mark Smith, with more meetings to follow. The logistics of briefing the largest group, Specialty(General Merchandise), have created some difficulties. However there will certainly be briefings at 452 Queen St on
Tuesday 25th August            3.00 pm
Thursday 27th August          3.00 pm
Tuesday 1st September        3.00 pm
Thursday 3rd September      3.00 pm

Traders who are keen to find out more about the re-branding before then should talk to their Trader Representatives as we have been offered the opportunity of small group meetings at times suitable to traders.

The re-branding event will involve a significant marketing campaign with the aim of boosting the market's profile.

Sunday 9 August 2015

Trader’s Idea For Grand Final Friday

Friday 2nd October is a new public holiday in Melbourne (Grand Final Friday) and trader, John Magno, thinks we should make it special for QVM. John’s philosophy is that linking a special market event with a new public event will ensure an ongoing relationship that could produce a valuable sales boost for traders.

Essentially he is suggesting that Grand Final Friday would be a trading day for interested traders. He is expecting that fresh food traders would want to take advantage of the food demand on Grand Final weekend (BBQs etc.) and that a special market could be created in the top end. Our city will be full of football fans including intrastate and interstate visitors looking for entertainment over the weekend.

John is suggesting a 10am to 10pm trading day on the Friday with sheds F through to A curated as a special market and, if demand allowed, incorporating J,K, and L sheds as well. Special entertainment would be feature of the event with music stages set up at the Queen St end of F to A and also at the top end of F to A on Peel St. Live bands (family friendly bands) would entertain for an hour at the top end and then an hour at the bottom end giving customers a variety of entertainment and shopping options.

Food would be available at F shed and perhaps along the centre walkway with suitable seating areas also provided. John doesn’t believe that Queen St. itself should be used for food. He suggests that keeping food under the roof line will be more beneficial to the trading results within the top-end. If J, K, and L were not used for trading then that space could be used for additional parking.

John’s idea ticks a number of boxes including –
1.     Linking up with a major city event.
2.     Providing a boost to October sales.
3.     Trialling alternative trading hours for day traders.
4.     Trialling a night market format for day traders.
5.     Establishing a template for other public holidays or special event days.

What do you think of this idea?

14/08/2015 15:17:52 Positive thinking "Well done!!! That's positive thinking John Magno.... We need more like you" . Bruce Pham Thanks for your input Bruce - Ed

In Search Of A Catch Phrase For QVM

QVM's re-branding event on 4th September will include a "positioning statement" or "catch phrase" to go with our new logo. Management are still seeking input on what might be the most suitable statement and some options will be presented at meetings next week.

But why wait until then? What are your thoughts on what statement might be suitable? We can't show you our fresh new logo yet but it is envisaged that the statement  will accompany the logo so it will need to be easily read and quickly identifiable.

"Melbourne's Market"

Trader Tien believes that "Melbourne's Market" might be best because it encapsulates what tourists are looking for when they come to our city, a unique Melbourne experience. And it is relevant to locals, many of whom take ownership of our unique icon. We like Tien's thinking.

 We would love to get your thoughts on Here are some ideas to get those creative thoughts flowing. Just click on "ADD YOUR STATEMENT" below.

"Market of Markets"

"Real Food, Real People, Real Melbourne"

"Rediscover Your Market"

"An Experience To Remember"

Have Your Say - click here.

09/08/2015 12:55:43 Catch Phrase How about - "A Better Way To Shop"

Friday 7 August 2015

Latest Retail News – 7/8/2015

Latest Retail News – 7/8/2015
1. Productivity Commission recommends lower penalty rates on Sundays.
2. Retail sales rise 4.9% year on year to June 2015.
3. Reserve Bank leaves interest rates unchanged again.
4. Booktopia acquires Bookworld and Angus & Robertson Online.
5. Toll and Sendle launch alternative to Australia Post for small business.
6. Dick Smith set to rebrand some of its stores to ConnectedHome for small appliances.
7. Kathmandu rejects takeover offer from NZ’s Briscoe Group.
8. Men’s fashion house, The Academy Brand, opens first store in a shopping centre at Westfield Miranda.
9. Beacon Lighting takes over two franchised stores.
10. New Malaysian GST impacts heavily on supermarket sales.
11. Flight Centre successfully overturns ACCC price fixing claim.
12. US beauty brand, Bath & Body Works, coming to Australia.
13. David Jones takes on DundasFit sportswear range for men.

Tradition or Convenience - Which Will Save QVM?

Convenience is a very important ingredient of modern retailing and, whilst QVM has some wonderful unique traditions, some things need to be changed.

U.S. Retail giant Target is testing in store beacons that will allow them to position individual customers and send them targeted messages related to stock in their vicinity. So customers are being fed information in a way undreamed of just a few short years ago. Back in the good old days, customers had to find their own way to desired purchases but now they are invited to plan their shopping trip with a bit of online searching, visit likely outlets, and be directed to their purchase once they get there. It is all about ease and convenience.

"We move around like stones in a concrete mixer."

Compare that with QVM. Customers can check out the QVM website for possible leads, even get names of traders, but the whole system breaks down once they get here. Does anybody outside traders or management really understand the shed identification system? Do our signs really help? Is it practical to ask customers to "Ring the office for today's trader location"? And if a customer does purchase from a trader, what are the chances of finding them again the next day. The recent issue of moving traders at the top end of E shed showed that just 10 or so stall positions impacted on 38 different traders. We move around like stones in a concrete mixer.

"How long have you been here?"

It can be argued that finding traders is less of an issue for tourists. They probably have few pre-conceived ideas of where traders are, and are generally in a more relaxed shopping mood. They are more inclined to wander at leisure to find what they want. But that doesn't apply to locals. Locals are much more focussed on getting what they want, as soon as they can get it, even if just to avoid  car parking fees. Many traders will have been asked "How long have you been here?" by long term customers who have simply walked down a different aisle on their way to a market destination and discovered you for the first time. If you are not in that same spot next time they come, then the chain is broken, probably irretrievably.

"confusing customers has little traditional merit"

We can not ignore the fact that "shopper convenience" is a modern retail essential. QVM has some wonderful traditions many of which need to be retained. Our fresh offer, unique architectural environment, and personal customer attention are great attractions, but confusing customers has little traditional merit and we need to find a better way. Car parking and trading hours are considered two of the most important issues for traders to address during market renewal but convenient way-finding needs to be up there as well. To summarise, we need -
   1.     Better signage.
   2.     Better electronic map finding and direction.
   3.     More permanent stall positions.

Traders Comments - 7/8/2015

Two recent comments are highlighted here -

An article about Myer and David Jones axing some of their fashion brands  and creating opportunities for the market drew this response -
05/08/2015 09:53:33 An Opportunityfor QVM "I think it may be a possibility however most of the traders in the market will be faced with the prospect that these axed brands will not want their brand presence in the market. Once upon a time, when major brands cleaned up their excess stock at reduced prices they were happy to get rid of it to anyone who could handle a particular volume. With the advent of factory outlets, and the brands itself opening outlets, that vacuum that used to exist for the Queen Victoria Market traders and others to profit from branded clearance stock has evaporated.
In my case I would jump at the chance to buy sheridan or linen house clearance stock, however even when I had a number of shops. I was still not allowed to sell excess stock at the market. If i was found to breach that rule, they would stop supplying me.
Traders need to look closer at one issue.The fact that all traditional brick and mortar shops, especially K-Mart, have become smarter with their product offering. They provide same or similar product , at cheaper everyday prices. The same reason why Coles has been successful in bridging the gap between themselves and Woolworths and of course we all know about how fast Aldi are catching up to the two majors.
What is the Queen Victoria Market point of difference?
The other point is,even if many traders had great branded specials, etc ,etc, will people come from all over to shop at the market. Have we lost loyalty from many due to reasons like expensive travel, stiff competition from shops, the lack of advertising to promote the general merchandise side of the market and of course the one that I believe is the biggest issue; the failure of past and current management, to tackle the outdated retail offer available the Queen Victoria market."

And an article about measuring market performance by the number of customers queueing at our doughnut bus drew this response -
05/08/2015 20:10:08 KPI's "Sometimes we lose sight of reality with the jargon and terminology of today's business world when the simple things are right in front of us.
We have watched the trade in the market ebb and flow over many years as have most traders and adjust our trading accordingly. Experience is the key KPI."
Karl ADK (American Doughnut Kitchen)

The Search For Artisan Traders

Artisan craft traders are a desirable ingredient for any market. Social media and travel sites are full of consumers looking for the real hand made experience.

However, artisan businesses are quite different from your standard market business. For a start they require manufacturing time so they can't be expected to trade everyday in a 5 day market. They rely on expensive hand labour to produce their goods so prices are generally well above the mass produced norm. They survive on lower sales volumes (generally), with restricted trading opportunities (generally) and they are therefore more financially fragile (generally).
Some successful artisan craft businesses do exist and we have a few examples in the top end of QVM - including Intone Photography, Andrews Wood Burning, and Aminalee.

So how do we introduce more of the artisan element into a professional 5 day CBD market and make it work? Well one way is to do what QVM are already doing, and that is introduce specialised craft markets on weekends and at night. Successful craft markets will help fill that artisan gap in our stall mix and create the well rounded offer that customers and commentators are looking for. The best part is that creating a more attractive offer at QVM will benefit every single trader.

Have Your Say - click here.

June Sales Figures Up

Australia's retail sales were up 0.7% in June which is not a large rise, but commentators are enthused by the majority of the increase coming from more sales, not just price rises.

Hardware, building and garden supplies were up by 2.8%, electrical goods by 2.4%, and homewares and furniture by 1.2%. On the other hand clothing and footwear showed a decline and department stores were just into negative territory.

Specialised food retailing, takeaway food, and cafes and restaurants all showed a rise, while supermarkets recorded a fall in turnover.

McDonalds Reassesses The Future

McDonalds is a fast food icon which has achieved amazing growth globally but the pace is faltering as retail headwinds take their toll. Like every retailer around the world, McDonalds are having to reassess their future.

In the U.S., where a third of their restaurants reside, McDonalds have recorded a 2% drop in sales and a 13% drop in profit. As a consequence, McDonalds are reviewing more contemporary and healthier food options, an area that some of their competitors have embraced. In Australia the move away from the classic burger has already started with the "Create Your Taste" campaign where customers are encouraged to design their own burgers. The success of this campaign has already seen some take-up in the U.S.

McDonalds have experienced decline before. Back in 2003 U.S. sales plummeted as their meteoric pace of expansion led to lower standards of service and cleanliness, and they seemed to lose focus on their core menu.  Refocusing and slowing the rate of expansion produced a dramatic turnaround.

It can be said that the McDonalds experience is repeated in retail businesses of all types and sizes around the globe. The constant need to reassess and reinvent has become the norm in a fast changing and unpredictable retail world. Not even market traders at QVM are immune.

Thursday 6 August 2015

QVM Tops International Travellers Most Popular List

QVM beat the MCG, Crown Casino, and National gallery of Victoria in the list of most visited tourist attractions by international tourists in the 12 months to December 2014.

More than 1 in 2 international travellers to Melbourne visited our market. Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said it was no surprise that Queen Victoria Market topped the list of Melbourne’s most popular attractions for international visitors but without an upgrade “we put that popularity at risk”.

Melbourne’s four biggest sources of international tourists were China, New Zealand, the USA and the UK.

QVM Re-branding Event

Last weekend’s QVM Traders Bulletin contained information on a QVM re-branding event which will take place on 4th September. Re-branding is an important function for organisations wishing to mark a point in time when they redefine their image.

The QVM re-branding will be centred around a new logo which Marketing Director, Mark Smith said “is about articulating the future now, about actually doing something real/tangible and specific and doing it now!” “Our new branding is vibrant, energetic, fresh and contemporary.......... The whole purpose of re-branding at this time is to immediately help build customer numbers and sales.” The re-branding event will herald the beginning of "a major day market advertising campaign throughout September!"

Part of the re-branding will be a “positioning statement” or if you like “catch phrase” which adds words to the new image. Mark Smith has invited traders to contribute to the process of selecting the positioning statement – We also want to involve traders in deciding what is the best ‘strap line’ or ‘positioning statement’ to accompany the new logo.  At the moment we simply have ‘Since 1878’ under our logo.  You might like to start thinking about that and possible new ‘lines’ that you think are relevant. Or maybe we keep that.”

Meetings will shortly be held with traders who wish to learn more about the re-branding and contribute their views. We expect to have more details over the weekend.