Thursday 29 September 2016

This Trader Has Special Skills

We should be grateful that trader, Jason, chose to establish his career at The Queen Vic Market. He could have been lost to a completely different occupation. Click on this link to see the whole story.

Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday 25 September 2016

Latest Retail News – 25/9/2016

Latest Retail News – 25/9/2016
1. Existing Preston Market to be retained under $4m revamp.
2. JB HiFi shares soar after Good Guys purchase.
3. Rebel Sport, Myer, and Good Guys win top marketing awards.
4. Ex Pacific Brands (Bonds etc.) CEO joins Lord Mayor race in Melbourne.
5. Kathmandu posts huge jump in profit.
6. UK sports giant, JD Sport, takes an interest in Australian ath-leisure group.
7. Online giant, Alibaba, is now Asia’s richest company.
8. First stage of Chadstone’s latest $660m redevelopment opens next month.
9. New tax regulations will require overseas online retailers that have an Australian annual turnover above $75,000 to collect GST on all goods.
10. Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments lifts profit by 18%.

QVM In Miniature

Intrigued by this photo? It has an artistic connection. Here is the link -

An Early Start To Thursday Trading

This Thursday 29th September will feature a special event in the form of the Gold 104.3 radio station Grand Final Breakfast at QVM. Traders may wish to modify their set-up times to take advantage of  the early morning occasion.

The event is being promoted on the radio station and QVM social media feeds in the lead up to the Grand Final. 300 guests have been invited to join the breakfast at QVM from 6:00am to 9:00am. Radio presenters, Jo & Lehmo, will be joined by a variety of special guests, including past and present players, Fox Footy presenters and musical performers, as they cover off everything you need to know for the AFL Grand Final!

We recommend traders schedule their set-ups to be ready for any spin-off in business between 6 and 9am.

The Gold 104.3 Grand Final Breakfast is just part of the QVM package to promote the market during this huge sporting event.

AFL Friday Public Holiday Is QVM's Day

The Friday before the AFL Grand Final (Friday 3oth September) is a public holiday in Melbourne. Last year was the first year this holiday took place and traders decided it might be a good opportunity to make a feature of the occasion in our trading calendar.

Whilst market crowds on the Grand Final day itself (Saturday 1st October) can suffer from the city’s focus on a TV event, the Friday has the potential for good market crowds particularly as fans congregate in the CBD for the team parade.

QVM has been promoting its Feast of Footy over the month of September including
     - Regular football clinics in A shed.
     - Queen Vic Big Kick.
     - Bucking Footy.
     - Grand Pie-nal Day.

Radio station Gold 104.3 will be holding their Grand Final Breakfast at the market on the morning of Thursday 29th September (see separate article) and we can expect the impetus to flow into the Friday Public Holiday and hopefully into Grand Final Day itself.

Traders are urged to enhance the theatre of the occasion with their stall displays and contribute to making the Grand Final, particularly the lead up including the Friday Public Holiday, a successful and profitable part of our trading calendar.

TV Car Ad Uses QVM Setting

Trader, Tim Moore, seems to remember a Jaguar ad done at QVM some time ago. We haven't been able to find anything online but if you have any information we would love to hear from you.
In the meantime Nissan have used the QVM setting for their Qashqai TV ad which is currently running on Melbourne television. Here is a link to the ad.

Just One Good Customer

There is a theory amongst  traders that on days when customers are reluctant to buy and they are giving you a hard time, it is simply because the good customers are absent. Bad customers are always part of the buying population but they really stand out when the good customers for some reason are missing.

But it doesn't take a lot to change a trader's mindset and "Jeff" and his family did that for me on Saturday. It had been a flat morning and good customers seemed to be absent. "Jeff" turned up with his wife and two daughters and we started a conversation. "Jeff" hadn't been to the market for a number of  years but he'd been caught up in the media discussion on renewal and decided it was time he visited again (tick the box marked "Any publicity is good publicity").

He came in to buy food and was delighted with the quality and price particularly of fruit and vegetables down in H&I shed (tick that box). He had devoted half a day to his market trip so the family decided to wander the specialty stalls in the top end and found a number of stalls that interested them (tick that box). Oh, and he also spent $100 at my stall buying something he didn't think he would find at his normal shopping venues (BIG tick - thanks Jeff).

Yes, just one good customer helped swing our day, not just in his contribution to sales but the tantalising prospect of what a rejuvenated market might hold. The important thing is that those customers like “Jeff” who come back don’t get disappointed and there are many who think we still have some work to do there.

26/09/2016 07:31:41 Just One Good Customer "Doesn't this article say something about the lack of advertising and promotion of the market when ""Jeff"" and his family only came to the market because they had heard about it in the media otherwise it was not something he thought about even though he knew of the existence of the market.

Why do retailers like Myer, David Jones, Harvey Norman, JB HiFi et al advertise all the time even though they are well known stores? So they are always in peoples thoughts when they think of shopping and thats what the Queen Vic should be. We are not just a food market we encompass a whole range of products people need to buy, we are nearly a ""one stop shop"" venue. For example with the spring racing carnival coming up a woman could buy everything she needed for a great day out starting with the latest fashions in dresses, shoes and hats then for the picnic basket the best bread and cakes, cheeses, fruit a even the wine can be bought at ""The Vic"" all at a reasonable price why isn't that promoted right now? or don't we have a marketing person anymore since Sylvia Goldstein was put off so many years ago. Does anyone else agree with my thoughts? " Frank

Rob Adams Adds An Important Ingredient To Renewal Debate

The Rob Adams interview in this week's CBD News raises a perspective that can go missing in any debate centred on our market.

Any worthwhile debate, and there is no argument that "the most important public space in the whole of Melbourne" is worthwhile, needs scrutiny at all levels. A myopic view of QVM does no favours to anyone and interviewer, Shane Scanlan's, reference to a "helicopter view" makes a lot of sense.

It is easy for traders to take a parochial stance on renewal (we have been guilty of it on these pages) but a citywide view and a look at our market precinct’s role in the fabric of Melbourne, and the State, and indeed Australia, raises a whole new perspective. The article is certainly worth a read. - "Vic Market Development Is Not Just About The Market".

Rob Adams (born 1948[1]) is an architect and urban designer, Director of City Design at the City of Melbourne, Australia. He won multiple awards as the leader of the revitalization of the Melbourne City Centre and surrounds, helping to create a vibrant city streetscape with innovative design features.

The Supermarket Argument Doesn't Stand Up.

It's a great one-liner - "They are going to turn QVM into a supermarket", but what does that really mean, and isn't it more correct to say that supermarkets are trying to turn themselves into markets like QVM?

Here's how Wikipedia describes a supermarket - "A supermarket, a large form of the traditional grocery store, is a self-service shop offering a wide variety of food and household products, organised into aisles. It is larger and has a wider selection than a traditional grocery store ......."

So, in many respects (scale and variety) QVM is a supermarket. Where we fall short is in categories like canned goods, and household supplies. Also, we adhere to shop service rather than self service in most of our food categories, perhaps with the exception of fruit & vegetables. But when it comes to fresh food variety, scale, and knowledge, we are at the top.

Supermarkets have spent a lot of money trying to look like us as the photo shows. In most supermarket fruit and vegetable departments you simply add a friendly face behind each counter, lower the prices, and you have a remarkably similar copy of QVM. Who is copying who?

Opponents to QVM renewal plans list the provision of cool stores as "supermarket like" but aren't cool rooms just giving our traders more flexibility and less likelihood of wastage (and therefore lower prices). Supermarkets also have running water and electricity so maybe we should think twice about providing those facilities in the renewal. (Sorry, that was a cheap shot.)

QVM is a super market. We have nothing to apologise for and as long as we maintain those ingredients of personal service, quality, low prices, and freshness, we will stay true to our uniqueness. If renewal can make it easier to excel in those areas, then bring it on.

What Is More likely To Save Traders?

A trader asked a question this week – “What is more likely to save traders – a move to a union based support system that protects every trader good or bad, relevant or irrelevant, active or passive – or the traditional independence of entrepreneurship that rewards excellence, fosters true competition, and encourages innovation in a swiftly changing retail environment? Which is more likely to drag customers to our market?”

An Iconic Melbourne Retailer Speaks Out

Traders Should Add “Entertainer” To Their CV’s

Customers are wonderful. They are our lifeblood and we dwell on their every action in anticipation of the holy grail - a sale. But along the way, customers can do things that mildly irritate us, and traders are often drawn to say "If I could have a dollar for every time that happened, I would be rich." Usually they are talking about free entertainment.

My neighbours and I were discussing that very point yesterday and we each had examples of irritating customer actions. I sell yachting caps at the front of my stall and many times a day customers will remove a cap from its packaging, adjust the band, try it on, take a photo of themselves, and then put back the cap (sometimes in its packaging), and walk off. Annoying, right? My neighbour on Saturday was selling those colourful water beads which he displays in big glass bowls. Customers constantly dip their hands in the bowls, and then flick off the moisture (and the odd bead) before moving off. Another neighbour was selling laser pointers and I lost count of the number of times customers picked up a pointer to shine it to the ceiling or in their friends faces.

These are all aspects of the free entertainment we traders provide our customers and yes, it would be nice to convert each of those actions into a dollar. But each of my neighbours understood that it is the free entertainment bit that is important. Customers do enjoy those activities. They come to our market so they can photograph themselves wearing yachting caps, dip their hands in colourful water beads, shine lasers, and perform a multitude of other activities as part of their shopping adventure. When we stop entertaining them we might as well pack up shop and those single dollars will be totally irrelevant.

I often tell my friends that traders are truly multi-talented business people. We are designers (stall layouts), engineers (stall set-ups), merchandisers, sales people, accountants, negotiators, and now I am going to add another important quality - entertainers. Each of us has the potential to entertain 30,000 people on a good trading day. Bruce Springsteen, eat your heart out.

Thursday 22 September 2016

QVM In The News - 22/9/2016


Put aside the politics of its redevelopment for a moment and take a good look at the Queen Victoria Market: what does it mean to you? What does it say ...

DOZENS of posters promoting Save Queen Victoria Market mayoral candidate Phil Cleary have been taken down from the market site, angering ...

Mooncakes were not the only star at the Mooncake Festival that took place at Queen Victoria Market on September 11. Lion dance, kung-fu ...

Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday 18 September 2016

Latest Retail News – 18/9/2016

Latest Retail News – 18/9/2016
1. Myer says it is ready for UK department store, Debenhams, to challenge Australian market.
2. Shopping centres to focus on fresh food offer and cafes as competition for tenants heats up.
3. Ebay launches special facility to sell old iPhones following iPhone 7 release.
4. Myer doubles profit to $60.5m after raising sales revenue by 3%.
5. Retail sales up a little in July.
6. JB HiFi purchases Good Guys for $870m and becomes Australia’s biggest home appliance retailer.
7. Crust pizza chain launches alcohol delivery.
8. Ikea opens London restaurant where diners assemble food (no, this is not a joke.)
9. Waitrose opens first cashless supermarket in London.
10. Sensis says men outspend women online.

Heard Under The Sheds – 18/9/2016

A Stink At QVM – this website received a written complaint this week and there was much discussion amongst traders on Friday about deteriorating standards of cleanliness in the market’s public toilets. The smell has been described as “disgusting” in the Queen St. and A Shed toilet blocks. One trader received a customer complaint about the state of the toilets although customers often don’t complain – they just stop coming. Time for action by those responsible.

Fishmongers Grill Malcolm McCullough – Thursday’s meet the CEO session at the Engagement Hub on Queen St. included 8 or 9 Fishmongers concerned about future plans for their hall particularly the possibility of processing facilities under H & I Sheds. The discussion was described as robust and open with many aspects of the fish hall operation being covered.
As we have noted before, these Thursday afternoon sessions are a great way for traders and management to highlight and discuss important market matters in an informal environment.

Table Covers – Just a note that our resident material stall has stock of materials suitable for stall table covers. Just talk to Lana at J shed 41 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Information on fitted cloths and logo printing are available from the office.

September Can Be Tough – one of our specialty merchandise traders recalls that February and September are his two worst months of the year.

Sprinter Steve – an award should go to T-shirt Trader Steve for sprinting after a thief down K Shed on Saturday and retrieving a wallet stolen from his neighbour’s display.

What Some People Don’t Understand About QVM

I read an article in the Herald Sun this week that typified much of the anti-renewal debate and like many similar arguments missed a point that most traders get.

The article was written by an academic and there were some wonderful word pictures – stories of the old days and the emotion of a true community market, the banter, the social exchanges – all things which, as a 35 year plus trader I recognise and embrace. The author talked about the market rejecting the conformity of supermarket chains and reminding us that life is about choices. All those things are true but that is not why the Queen Victoria Market is here.

The Queen Victoria Market comprises a group of individual traders who operate a particular business model. That business model is based on meeting the needs of a population, hopefully the vast majority of that population, because volume is important to how we do business. We are expected to meet those needs in regard to quality, price, and freshness (in the case of food). But our business model is suffering and you only need to look at the empty stalls for evidence of that. Our model has been compromised. It has been disrupted by many things including a communication revolution, and a whole lot of new choices for consumers. There is online ordering, a multi-year supermarket war that has disrupted traditional concepts of food buying, and an over-emphasis on convenience in the lives of consumers that impacts on how retailers do business.

We market traders are here to do business. All those other things, the emotion, the personal exchanges are by-products of doing our job really well. They are not why we are here. We need to focus on what got us here a century and a half ago – being relevant to the needs of the population and excelling at what we do. When we get that focus back and embrace the gift of a market re-investment (renewal is just about making up for lost investment over the last 30 or so years), then we can achieve great things.

Being really good at meeting the contemporary needs of consumers is the most important lesson from our past.

By Greg Smith

QVM In The News - 18/9/2016

MELBOURNE is a city of markets. The Queen Victoria Market, or the”Vic” as it is known, was where my uncle brought his vegetables. He would bring ...


“The City of Melbourne and the State Government have signed an agreement regarding the renewal of the Queen Victoria Market.” In a letter from their ...

Retail Webinars & Workshops

Traders can click on this link - Retail Training & Development - to get access to some webinars and workshops including the following - 

Social Media and Marketing
Build a step-by-step plan to create a social media campaign focussed on the customer's needs.
Financial Fundamentals & Product Performance
This workshop provides the guiderails to financial control through understanding sales, profit and cash flow.
{WEBINAR} Augmented Reality - beyond the hype
Learn the applications of Augmented Reality for retail, and practical steps for cost-effective implementation.
Reinventing the brick-and-mortar store
Learn how retailers can maximise the customer experience in-store to increase conversion rates and drive online sales.

Tuesday 13 September 2016

QVM In The News

The Grand Old Dame is definitely in need of a makeover. I had a good look around last week, and found much of it distinctly underwhelming.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Latest Retail News - 11/9/2016

Latest Retail News – 11/9/2016
1. Surfstitch records $155m loss.
2. Online homewares retailer, Temple & Webster, reports $44.9m loss. Looks for break-even 2018.
3. Woolworths in legal battle with partner Lowes over sale of Masters.
4. Retail spending unchanged in July.
5. Lush triples size of Sydney flagship store.
6. Woolworths replaces directors on Masters Board.
7. Uniqlo to double its floor space at Chadstone.
8. UK department store, Debenhams, to open in Collins St. Melbourne 2017.
9. Supermarkets accused of reducing choice as ranges go in cost-cutting measures.

Free Promotion Opportunity With City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne offers free promotional opportunities to traders for the coming Christmas trade period. Here is the latest advice from the City:-

Christmas promotion reminder
Christmas marketing campaign. We’ve received some fantastic responses but we’re still on the look out for more great products, services and festive experiences during the Christmas period. 
Expressions of interest (EOIs) close on Wednesday 14 September so complete the application form now.
Apply now
Complete this short form and your business could be featured in our Christmas campaign* including our:
This is what we're looking for
Gifts, services and festive experiences unique to the City of Melbourne such as:
  • special Christmas events
  • markets, festive shopping events
  • bespoke, locally made gifts
  • unique children's gifts
  • gifts under $50
  • foodie gifts or festive cooking classes
  • sustainable, ethical gifts
  • workshops, create your own gifts
  • gift vouchers for unique experiences
  • festive dining venues.
Applications close Wednesday 14 September.

The Richest Man In The World Is A Retailer

For a few days this week Bill Gates was no longer the richest man in the world. That title belonged to Amancio Ortega, the founder of Zara. The fluctuating fortunes of the share market meant that Gates has since regained the number one position but it is obviously an ongoing battle.
But back to the point - a retailer became the richest man in the world, and this man started as a store clerk who opened his first Zara store in 1975. Ortega holds shares in Inditex, the parent company to Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear and other brands. According to Forbes he earns a massive $900m per year in dividends.
I have often questioned my role as a retailer, particularly in recent years, but now there are no excuses. The world is my oyster, and I can attain great wealth. Mr. Ortega shows it can be done.

The Scientific Solution To QVM Renewal

Like warring factions the pro renewal and no renewal camps are creating an uncomfortable environment that is making it difficult to reach a solution. Both sides want the same thing, a better market, but the current process of politics, propaganda and 5 minute experts seems a crazy waste of time, effort and money. We need some science.

One of our long term traders (45 years with the market) disagrees with both extremes (pro and no) and says we are focussing on the wrong things. The no renewal camp are ignoring the realities of a struggling market. The pro renewal camp are mesmerised by $250m which, if spent in the wrong way, will fix very little. There is a middle road that is more likely to bring results.

Essentially he is saying get back to retail basics, and makes the point that retailing is a science not for amateurs. A full examination of his proposal is beyond this article but here are the main points -

1.    Acknowledge that we have a market/patient in need of revival.
2.    Identify the core reasons for the patient dying within a framework of historical known customer drivers - price, choice, convenience.
3.    Work on each of those core reasons and correct them using modern retailing expertise where appropriate.
4.    When the patient is on the road to recovery (but not before), adopt modern marketing and advertising practices to encourage, develop and grow.

Retailing is a science with known behaviours and known solutions. Tweak it a bit for a public market (just a bit), add in some modern methods of communication, and you have a framework for gradual correction of what ails us.

This sounds like a debate worth having.

How Much Food Is Enough

There is considerable debate over just how much ready to eat food should be available at a market like QVM. How do we get the mix right so that our market meets modern consumer expectations whilst ensuring that the category is not over supplied and therefore jeopardising the profitability of current food operators? One thing seems clear - "food is the new shopping."

There is little doubt that food is critical to retail success. With the growth of online shopping, an essential point of difference for bricks'n'mortar destinations is food. And if you get the food attraction right, not only do you get more customers, but they stay longer and spend more. That is great for every retailer. Recent studies show that customers who eat during a shopping centre trip spend on average 27 minutes longer across the shopping centre and spend 18%  more in overall transactions.(marketing data from Coniq).

The space devoted to ready to eat food has grown significantly. According to international retail services company JLL, floor space devoted to food and beverage has doubled in the last ten years from 7% to 15%, and is expected to rise to 20% in the next ten years. Consumers are obviously demanding greater choice in ready to eat food. Shopping centres that used to rely on a single food court to meet their customers needs now have multiple food options throughout their centres. We are not a shopping centre but we do serve very similar clientele and the food options of old simply don't meet modern expectations. Gaining the double whammy of more customers who stay longer is a very desirable target.

Obviously you don't want to over populate the category and this is the point of concerns expressed in a Herald Sun article this week. In an article about the CoM's new food truck policy, Trader Representative Jenny Pyke was quoted as saying "It’s definitely unfair that they’re (food trucks) being put in at a lower rent rate than those already at the market”. Council plans involve placing food trucks around the city including on Peel St. adjacent to the market. The point was made in the article that the introduction of more food outlets could jeopardise the livelihoods of current food traders. Cr. Robert Doyle was quoted in a discussion on 3AW "We think these spots will work, in talking to the various traders, but obviously, depending on the footfall, that’s what makes it, or breaks it, and we want to put them where there are people going past".

Getting the ready to eat food mix right at QVM is critical to our development. This is not just about protecting current food traders or whacking in lots of new food. If we get this right, we will all benefit because more customers will come to our market. Once again we are testing the entrepreneurial appetite for traders to adapt to retail change and testing Malcolm McCullough's team's ability to get it right. It would be unfortunate if the CoM were acting independently and harming the process.

Spreading The News

A comment posted on Victraders this week complained that more outside media articles were appearing on this trader's website.

We are publishing links to more outside media content but it is a deliberate attempt to better inform traders. Much is going on in the media about QVM at present and it is virtually impossible for every trader to keep track of them all. Some are printed in newspapers, some are online, and some are restricted to social media. At Victraders we get access to most of them so we decided to share on our pages.

If they seem to be clogging up the system we will stop publishing outside links but in the meantime we hope you enjoy being fully informed. Let us know what you think.