Sunday 31 July 2016

Latest Retail News – 31/7/2016

Latest Retail News – 31/7/2016
1. Myer partners with UK’s John Lewis in homewares launch.
2. CBA says 1 in 5 e-tailers plan on opening physical stores.
3. ARA criticises omission of Small Business portfolio from cabinet.
4. Calvin Klein to open store in Sydney’s Broadway Centre.
5. Starbucks to open new stores featuring boutique bakeries.
6. Eagle Boys enters administration.
7. IGA says independents are absorbing Woolies lost customers.
8. Alibaba to ramp up its involvement in Australia.
9. ACCC gives green light to Metcash’s acquisition of Home Timber & Hardware from Woolworths.
10. Woolworths slashes jobs and closes stores in re-structure.
11. Mr Whippy interested in Eagle Boys business.
12. Woolworths reviewing its New Zealand operations.
13. DJ’s opens first store in New Zealand.
14. Woolworths cuts Murray Goulburn products.
15. Myer and Uniqlo open revamped stores at Pacific Werribee Centre.
16. 7-Eleven tests drone deliveries.

Too Much Love Could Kill Us

Brian May's famous song, "Too Much Love Will Kill You", was written about the pain that love can create and maybe we are experiencing that at QVM. 

Groups who want to have a say on QVM Renewal are many and varied. Our market creates much passion and you would expect that for an Australian icon. Customers, unions, politicians, actors, and academics are just some of the groups getting involved. Love and support is wonderful but how helpful is all that advice and will it be useful as we attempt to prepare QVM for the next 100 years or will it just make it more difficult to achieve a solution?

The public might love our market but the harsh reality is that they are shopping elsewhere. A Shed is partially empty because some customers found better places to buy their fruit and vegetables. Opponents of renewal are saying "leave it alone" but clearly that is not an option.

The Implementation Framework aims to provide a whole list of features that will give the Fruit & Vegetable traders the tools they need to regain their relevance with Melbourne shoppers. Underground facilities will provide ready access to stock (no more forklift trips across the car park). Cool rooms will help them manage the life of their stock better. Rubbish will go underground instead of being in public view and the forklifts that keep all this stock moving will be kept away from the public. Trucks will park closer to stalls and stop clogging up public areas. Customers will be able to park directly adjacent to their shopping destination. The above ground bit will be dedicated to what the customers really want - great product that is displayed attractively, easily accessed, and enables them to focus on their purchase. The rest all happens underground. That all seems to make a lot of sense.

The problem of course is that achieving that underground facility will mean moving traders and creating some trading uncertainty. Outside groups are desperate to protect traders and are prepared to compromise results (including doing nothing) to achieve that. Traders themselves are a little more pragmatic and realise that some short term pain may be necessary for long term gain. The secret will be in how well the transition is managed and how much support QVM gives its traders. Overseas experience shows that temporary markets can be made very attractive and create a big buzz for customers.

Hospitals don't ask their patients to design medical facilities. As much as we love outside groups, it is traders and management who are the right people to make the right decisions for QVM. Complicating the issues and inviting counsel from well meaning but ill informed outsiders is likely just to put more barriers in the way of a real solution. Too much love could kill us.

By Greg Smith

Promotional Opportunities For Traders

We have added a new page to this website. Promotional opportunities are an ongoing resource for traders and we figured it might be helpful to have ready access to what's available from QVM. In the navigation bar at the top of this page is a link to the promotional opportunities for 2016-17. Just click on that link for a description of what is available and how to start the ball rolling.

New Age Market In Rotterdam

Rotterdam's Markthal is a very interesting combination of residential apartments, offices, and a food market all contained in a high tech horse-shoe shaped building. It has little direct relevance to QVM's renewal but there are aspects of general retail interest that deserve a look. They include the wide aisles and ease of movement, the inter-spacing of eating areas, and the use of greenery throughout the hall.

Have Your Say - click here.

02/08/2016 20:10:26 Rotterdam I do not think that Rotterdam's postcode is 3000. Are we getting lost in whats happening overseas and forgetting that QVM is unique in it's own right. Karl ADK since 1950

I don't think anybody is forgetting the uniqueness of QVM Karl but keeping an open mind about retail possibilities would seem to be a smart move even for a market as great as ours. Personally, I'd feel uncomfortable buying food in an art gallery but Victraders aims to bring all possibilities. Thanks for adding your view. - Ed.

New TV Program For Small Business

SBS is hosting a new program on Sundays called Small Business Secrets.
The program, commencing today at 5:00pm, will aim to "offer tips and insights into the roller coaster of conceiving and running a small business in Australia".
A website will accompany the program and include a Small Business Toolbox to help business owners get the most out of their businesses.

Monday 25 July 2016

A Few Key Points From A Busy Week

QVM has just gone through one of the most intense periods of media exposure in a while. Summarising all that information about renewal is just too difficult but here are some official statements that caught our eye -

 "More than half the proposed budget will be spent below-ground, with cool rooms, storage, and dedicated delivery and loading docks to make the market safer, improve operations for traders, and create more room for customers and market trade in the long-term." - City of Melbourne press release.

"It is expected that the renewal will take five years to complete, not up to 10 as initially thought, with many of the projects to be completed within one to two years of starting," - CoM press release.

"We know car parking is important and this is reflected in the project staging. From 1 September, we will be reducing car parking rates on market days to attract more customers throughout renewal and support our traders. The first hour of parking will be free on market days and $5 for two hours." - CoM press release.

"We’ll also be ramping up our promotion of the day market so we can attract new customers and ensure our existing loyal customers know that we will be open for business right throughout renewal." - CoM press release.

Have Your Say - click here.

25/07/2016 14:55:30 Positive steps " The  small steps taken will help a lot in these renewal process . 
Parking  is a positive step .  May I suggest since there will be a lot of disruption all around a buffer zone should be phased around the market in order to facilitate easy parking this would mean a little loss of revenue for the city council but think of the positives of this will create a 500 meter buffer friendly zone ,  for people to be able to stop in this  area without fear of being booked..  And please get rid of that. Cocca cola  monstrosity  that occupies the best location in the market, and replace it with a ATM. There are enough vendors around as well as one machine at the toilet end." Andrew G.

Traders Comments

Thank you to these traders for their recent comments - 

24/07/2016 21:13:29 Spun Out. "I'm getting so dizzy from all the spin going on in all directions. Sit down, take a deep breath and a ""bex"" as this will be a long journey. There is a huge difference between wants (CoM) and needs (QVM Traders).
Our emotions are born out of our love for OUR ( the people of Victoria) Queen Vic Market." Karl ADK since 1950

Thanks for your input Karl. Did you notice that the Lord Mayor gave you a wrap during his press conference. Something about the Doughnut Van staying as an icon no matter what. I'll try and send you the link to the video. - Ed.

25/07/2016 09:49:02 greg's comments. "Monday morning, having a cup of tea and reading article, that to me makes  so much sense.
I've been looking at this from many angles for many months. I look at it now as a house renovation we need to have. I say renovation, not a new house.
Sure we are gonna had mess, and inconvenience while we will be there , but we need to have a reno. 
Look at the parking situation, allow a buffer shopper friendly zone around the precinct of the market, get rid of that coca cola machine in the middle of the market, and replace with atm. , and do something about the current atm s that give no protection to the people standing there in all weathers. Yes give storage and fridge facilities to our fruit section so they can keep their produce in good condition. give areas cover from the bad weather . and  one other thing that must be done as have been saying this for the past few years, pull away from the market the hounds , that have been stalking the market from the crack of dawn issuing infringement tickets to anyone who over stays for a short while... The council cannot have it both ways. Money from a vibrant market, or from from parking and infringement tickets. and no market... " Andy
Thanks for your input Andy. Keeping to the essentials makes sense. And for a market focused on customer service there is something very unfriendly about parking infringements. Maybe we need to give our genuine customers a gold pass.- Ed.

Have Your Say - click here.

25/07/2016 18:37:02 Spun out 2 Thanks for the heads up re Doyle. It is great to be an Icon however if we do not have customers to purchase our products we are nothing. This holds true for ALL traders at QVM- no customers - no business. It is for this reason that my priorities lie with protecting the market, viable market = viable business, you don't have to be a Rhodes scholar to figure this one out. There are alternatives to achieve similar out comes for the market without digging up a large proportion of QVM and driving customers away. Our customers may well be missing in action for the five year program never to return as they WILL find alternative places to shop. Perhaps a tortoise and hare approach over 10 years would be more acceptable. Karl ADK since 1950

Sunday 24 July 2016

Implementation Framework

Here is the link to the QVM Renewal Implementation Framework document that was published this week on the CoM website. - Implementation Framework

The Implementation Framework was the subject of discussion during trader meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week and covers significant aspects of QVM Renewal including underground facilities.

Let's All Take A Deep Breath

Passions run deep at the Queen Victoria Market. For a whole lot of very good reasons it is understandable that tempers become frayed, old friendships are tested, and fingers are pointed. An emotion packed union meeting probably added to tensions during the week and we had at least one example of a trader making a threat against another trader over renewal matters.

In every democratic process we have a right to express our views, listen to others, gain information, change our minds and form opinions. That is how important matters are thrashed out. But it is crucial to the success of this debate that we give everybody, friend and foe, that right, without threats, misinformation, or intimidation. Our lady (The Queen Victoria Market) deserves the respect of an informed, well debated consideration of her future and all participants deserve respect as well.

Ironically the old lady is probably laughing at us right now. She has been with us for over 130 years and the odds are that whatever happens she will be with us for at least another 130 years. Let's hope that is what happens anyway.

The Real Guru Is Back

Guru Pete, our esteemed market cleaner, is currently on a 3 month trial with his new employer at QVM, and his priority has been behaving in a respectful customer serviced manner while he is under review. There have been plenty of "Yes Sir/Madam", "No Sir/Madam" comments from Pete. This has led to some traders saying what has happened to the old Pete.

In a market of rough diamonds, Pete has found it necessary in the past to have a certain edge himself. The banter between traders and Pete has become a rich source of friendly argument, polite insults (is there such a thing?), and humorous exchanges.

Well, this week Pete told us he has had enough of the niceties. He has experienced enough grovelling to last a lifetime and he is back to his best as an enthusiastic commentator on life at QVM. Expect Pete to give you a rough time over your stall presentation and customer service, all while feeding in his own humorous  take on what is happening around QVM.

And can we just point out to his new employer that Pete will be more productive now that he is back to his energetic self. Welcome back Pete.

Do Most Traders Want Change?

As a Trader Representative who is quite clearly on the side of a market renewal I often get involved in arguments about what traders really want. Without a comprehensive trader poll it is difficult to be definitive but I am about to write two statements that may sound quite stupid.
-    Most traders don't want this renewal.
-    Most traders do want change.
How can that be? Quite simply, it is not a renewal that traders are against. It is the unknowns attached to a renewal that make it so difficult. Many traders say - "We don't want this renewal but we do know we have to have it." What did Prime Minister Paul Keating say "The recession we had to have"? I believe that most traders recognise the need to change aspects of our market so that it better serves customers, but it is the elements of uncertainty that make it difficult to embrace. 

Now that aspects of the renewal have been more clearly revealed in the Implementation Framework we have to face up to some realities, and whilst there will hopefully be a pot of gold at the end, and some attractive short term elements (temporary showcase markets) along the way, there are some components that create uncertainty. Things like messy construction zones and "Will I have a spot at the end of all this?" are issues that traders are  concerned about - and so they should be.

That is why there is this rush by management to provide some surety. We now have a guarantee that every trader will have a position at QVM at least until 2022. We also now learn that the intent is for the current level of 720 odd traders (no, the traders are not odd, the number is) will be expanded to 900 traders. Discussion around construction zones includes a number of measures such as heavy construction occurring during non-market hours.

Malcolm McCullough's letter to traders over the weekend added some more surety to the process including measuring market performance during the transition, and adjusting efforts to make sure customers keep coming and traders are supported. The proposal for a Retail Trader Category Manager is a good one. Every trader should be able to pick up the phone and contact a QVM manager to discuss issues and concerns as they arise. 

We still need to talk about things like some form of compensation in the case of severely disadvantaged traders but we are on the right track. Keeping ourselves informed, attending meetings and speaking to our future Retail Trader Category Managers will become more important as the process rolls on. 

By Greg Smith

Heard Under The Sheds

Trades Hall Meeting
A meeting at Trades Hall on Wednesday was apparently attended by around 80 traders and was the usual mix of heavy debate and emotion that you would expect from a union meeting. We understand that CEO Malcolm McCullough went along to the meeting to give a management perspective but was refused entry.

Managements Snap Poll On Renewal
Management conducted a trader survey yesterday in parts of the top end yesterday. It was a survey to determine how well the information given at recent trader meetings had filtered out into the bulk of traders but it included a question about renewal. Traders were given the opportunity to declare their attitude to renewal as a Yes, No, or Unsure.

A quick discussion with some of the traders after the poll indicated that "Unsure" was a common response and, given the situation, that sounds quite reasonable. Many were grateful that the third option was available. They didn't want to say "Yes" until they knew more, and they didn't want to say "No" because they felt some change was needed.

Wi-Fi Under The Sheds

We understand that facilities have been installed under the sheds in the top end to provide public wi-fi. Not sure whether that has been turned on yet but you might like to check occasionally on your mobiles.

Why Some Traders Can't Be On The Jury

In our judicial system, jurists are required to make impartial decisions about various matters. Traders quite rightly want to have a say about the direction of our market and yet many disqualify themselves from taking an influential role.

Let's give an example. A trader who attended the Trades Hall meeting this week and had quite a lot to say about traders resisting management, was asked why he was against renewal. He said he wasn't against change, and the market needed a renewal, but he had a really good corner position on one trading day and he was going to fight against the renewal process until he was guaranteed the same spot after renewal.

The message is simple - Traders who put their own business interests above the interests of the market cannot be objective about what is best for everyone. Obviously, we need to look after our own businesses, but that comes after we have made an un-biased decision about what is best for our market. 728 individual views will simply clog up the works (and some would say that is what is happening right now). Somehow we need to reach a uniform agreement on what are the best options for our market and then each of us decide how we can best position our businesses to maximise those options for ourselves - the "best result" comes first and the "ourselves" comes second.

Our contribution to the renewal debate will be diminished unless we each take time to step back and rationalise what needs to happen at a large public market in order to meet the needs of its customers. So if you are in a debate on the renewal of QVM, and your reasoning is centred only around the impact on your business and lifestyle, you will understand why your influence might be diminished. If you view is clouded by self interest, you can't be on the jury. If your view is impartial it will have greater influence.

Retail News Briefs – 23/7/2016

Retail News Briefs – 23/7/2016

Eagle Boys Pizza Calls In Administrators
Pizza is big business and the likes of Pizza Hut, Dominos, and Eagle Boys have dominated the $3.5 billion industry in Australia. The competition is intense and Eagle Boys has succumbed to the pressure announcing that it has called in administrators. All franchised stores will trade as usual while administrators hold talks with potential buyers.

Chinese Tourists Spend Record Amounts In Australia
According to Tourism Australia, Chinese tourists spent a record $8.9 billion in the year up to March 2016. A recent study showed that Chinese tourists spend more per head than tourists from UK and USA and they like to concentrate on quality original products that have no connection with the prevalence of counterfeit items in their home country.

3D Printed Food
We have written on this website before about the delicious possibility of using chocolate as a printing medium for 3D printers and now you can buy printers that use paste of any variety to create many different types of food. In fact, according to the makers of one printer the application is as large as the imagination of the chef.

One Dutch company creates dishes by using food pastes which are  layered on plates to create geometric and intricate designs, and are given fanciful names like Air Caviar, Fish and Chips, Caesar’s Flower of Life, Mystic Prawns, Steak TARTRIS, Love Bites and 3D Boscana.

The Two Renewal Options

The following article lacks balance but it does make an interesting point? Let me know what you think - Ed.

The Two Options For Traders
Option 1.The Yes Camp
-    Enable a road to go through the bottom of our market in exchange for a $30m kickstart to funding much needed infrastructure improvements.
-    Transform the handling of Fruit & Vegetables to provide a safer,more efficient produce handling structure for traders through underground facilities. This will enable produce to be stored and handled immediately adjacent to selling areas without compromising health & safety.
-    Replace an ugly asphalt car park with public rest & recreation facilities whilst ensuring that existing car park capacity remains adjacent to the market.
-    Improve conditions for customers including upgraded toilet and service facilities.
-    Improve customer access and way-finding in order to meet the convenience requirements of modern consumers.
-    Create a market of markets that accommodates different offerings, different trading hours, and a variety of options for all customer groups.
-    Provide trading facilities that enable traders to maximise their presentation to customers including the possibility of more permanent trading environments.
-    Endure some pain during the renewal process in exchange for arresting the decline of the market and preparing for the next 100 years of profitable market trading.

Option 2. The No Camp
-    A coat of paint.
-    Some weather protection.

What is the bigger gamble? Taking action to address the needs of a modern market and modern consumers OR leaving things as they are and hoping that the obvious decline of our market over the last 10-15 years will somehow stop.

Monday 18 July 2016

Traders Lusting Over Temporary Market

Reading the articles on this website you might be forgiven for thinking that renewal is all doom and gloom but many traders see opportunity.

Yes, there will be significant disruption during the renewal process but many traders are in the mood for experimentation as renewal implementation plans are revealed and the normal day to day trading routine shows potential for new trading arrangements.

Traders in C and D sheds who have always suspected that the grass is greener over in JKL Sheds will get a chance to try out the new turf when construction starts in their quarter late in 2017.

But one prospect that really lights up the eyes for traders is the possibility of
a spot in a temporary market marquee on Queen St. Memories of the Therry St. marquee are fresh in the minds of traders with its fresh new look, carefully manicured stalls, lighting facilities, and a general buzz of excitement that even at one stage included traders and customers dancing in the aisles.

And let's not forget that big plus of one time set-up. Carefully curating your display, and then being able to leave it on site without the hassle of daily set-up and pack down is a huge attraction. Trading in the Queen St. marquee will almost certainly be available only to five day traders and they may also be expected to take advantage of extended trading hours as the market experiments with its offer to customers.

Many traders have just one question - how do I sign up?

Sunday 17 July 2016

Latest Retail News – 17/7/2016

Latest Retail News – 17/7/2016
1. Billabong pays out $45m to disgruntled shareholders.
2. Unilever and Smiths pay penalties for misleading packaging.
3. PBS reforms cause pharmacies to seek other forms of revenue.
4. Good Guys launches home installation initiative.
5. Barnes & Noble introduce beauty products range into college bookstores.
6. Warrnambool warns tougher times ahead for milk producers.
7. AMP plans $600m redevelopment of Karrinyup Shopping Centre in Perth.
8. Big W plans to cut 180 jobs.
9. Kogans shares fall 17% on first day of trading.
10. Australian Geographic stores to close by 2017 if buyer not found.
11. South African retail conglomerate, Steinhoff, takes over Poundland in UK.
12. Google launches Android Pay in Australia.
13. Chem-mart launches new look concept store in Melbourne.

Shopping quotes we came across.

Important Meetings For Traders

Renewal has arrived and as promised earlier in the year meetings will be held over the coming week to explain the first stages of implementation. Traders will be briefed on the detail that is currently available on where and when construction will take place. We will also find out about trader movement and temporary markets.

Much of the detail will be formulated over coming months so being informed and asking the right questions will be very important for every trader.

Here is the information issued to traders late last week and over the weekend.


Find out more about the implementation of all market renewal projects
You are invited to an advanced trader information session about the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Implementation Framework.
Before the document’s public release on Thursday July 21 2016, hear about how and when all key renewal projects will be staged over the next five years. Importantly, you can also find out how the market will continue to operate throughout the entire renewal program.
All traders are encouraged to take the opportunity to hear about the implementation approach before it is released and goes before Melbourne City Council on Tuesday 26 July 2016.  If you wish to attend one of the sessions, please ensure you contact QVM to book as the session numbers are limited.
Session Details:
Trading Group
Dairy Hall, Meat & Fish Hall
Tuesday, 19 July
2:30pm - 3:30pm
Wednesday, 20 July
10:45am - 11:45am
General Merchandise
GM 1
Tuesday, 19 July
3:45pm - 4:45pm
GM 2
Wednesday, 20 July
2:15pm - 3:15pm
GM 3
Thursday, 21 July
2:30pm - 3:30pm
Fruit & Vegetable and Victoria Street
FV 1
Wednesday, 20 July
9:30am - 10:30am
Foodcourt, Elizabeth St & Therry Street
Wednesday, 20 July
1:00pm - 2:00pm
F-Shed & String Bean Alley
Thursday, 21 July
3:45pm - 4:45pm
QVM Information Hub, 452 Queen Street
To book a place at one of the sessions please contact QVM management by no later than 10am on Monday 18 July and quote the session code as listed above.
By email:
By phone: (03) 9320 5822
In person: at F1 Information Centre

*Please note that following these advanced briefings, a second series of area and trader specific information sessions will be held in late July-August to provide more details. Session times will be publicised later this month.

Renewal Is Great But........

When three traders went to meeting with the Lord Mayor of Melbourne back in 2012 they didn't know quite what to expect. They went with concerns about the decline of the market and, in particular, the lack of investment.  The market was being run with little concern for the future and a mindset that placed yearly returns to Council ahead of real market improvement.

To hear the Lord Mayor had similar concerns was a very pleasant surprise and subsequent developments, including a renewal spend of up to $250m was way beyond original expectations. And QVM renewal is not just some empty statement of intent. After a long process we now have a QVM Renewal Master Plan, a Project Team, and most of the formalities of State Government approval and City Council commitment in place.

On the surface of it, this is an impressive achievement. Not quite fairy tale level, but impressive nonetheless. But, as often happens, there is devil in the detail and the process of renewal has the potential to bring significant hardship to small businesses at QVM over the next few years.

One of the biggest problems for any business, large and small is uncertainty. At QVM we will be faced with large doses of business uncertainty. How will we trade in new locations? How will customers react? Can we turn renewal and construction into excitement for customers? Can we use this period to experiment with new ways of engaging, new trading hours, and new merchandising methods? Will changes work?

There is no doubt that re-investment has the potential to put a great market on the right track for the next 150 years. Along the way, traders are going to need a great deal of consideration. They will need support and probably compensation. The City of Melbourne, and QVM will need to place trader health high on their priorities. But even more important than those two will be customers. Customer commitment, particularly during this transition, will be crucial to the health of traders. Perhaps our message to customers could be - "Come join the grand adventure with us".

Comedy Brief No.1

It is the duty of an editor to create some variation in his news offering. Too much of the same thing can be irritating and this is one of those weeks full of heavy issues like joining a union and extreme hardship for traders, and tenancy guarantees. 

So here is some light humour about retailing with a couple of gems that hopefully every trader can relate to. 

Tenancy Guarantees - What Can Traders Expect?

As renewal implementation plans start to be explained, the big question from traders at QVM is what guarantee do I have that there will be a position for me? This comes from a background discussion about some categories of traders that are currently over represented and a push to raise the general level of excellence in retailing at QVM so that our market truly meets the needs of 21st century customers.

Traders have been told that there will be a position for all willing traders in the lead up to the first stage of construction and during the construction stage itself. With the digging of the first hole not expected to commence before the end of 2017 (Munro's might start earlier), and construction expected to take 18 months - 2 years, that gives a time frame of a few years. But it is after that time that the guarantees are less clear. Will traders have a stall to return to, and will it be the same size and the same position that they currently occupy? Should traders be expected to go through the hell of a renewal only to find that there is no role for them at the end. These are emotion charged questions that deserve attention.

Of course, in retailing, and small business entrepreneurship generally, there are not many guarantees. Shop leases are often short term and retailers know they are taking on something of a gamble when they sign up. Ironically, PE Traders at QVM with their common law tenancy rights are in a stronger position than most retailers around the globe. Similar rights have existed in the UK although we know of at least one case where the owners and traders agreed that succession rights would apply to just one more generation before reverting to a more common tenancy arrangement.

Whilst there is always uncertainty surrounding entrepreneurial activities, there must be a reasonable expectation that modern businesses require some stability. The current situation at QVM with leases and licences that have come to an end, and essentially operating on a monthly basis, is anti-business. Traders cannot get bank loans without a lease. Even the smallest of traders are forced to consider making bulk purchases (in some cases two years supply) in order to get the price benefits that make them competitive. Would you buy 2 years stock whilst on a monthly tenancy? Would you invest in new plant and equipment on a monthly tenancy?

These are real issues for traders and therefore real issues for QVM management if implementation is to proceed in an orderly fashion. These issues will need to be thrashed out over coming months and next week's information sessions followed by precinct meetings and finally one to ones, will hopefully give traders the guidance and assurances they can reasonably expect.