The media is full of predictions at this time of year. You know the ones - "The stock market will crash in 2017", or "Why the stock market will continue to rise." Don't laugh - those two headlines have surfaced in respectable publications this week.
I don't want to claim the high ground but only one article appeared on Victraders last week and it related to a sales boom at The Queen Vic Market which was caused by an influx of tourists. In the madness of New Year analysis and predictions it was the only predictable thing I felt I could write about.
As a Trader Representative for the last 6 years I have lost count of the times I have looked deeply in the eyes of management or city hall executives and said "the busiest time of the year for Specialty Merchandise Traders is often not the week before Christmas but the week after, as tourists hit town." Invariably I get a surprised reaction that borders on disbelief - that sort of disbelief that is politely accepting but you can see the brain ticking away and saying "how can that be right?".
Well, once again it appears it happened this year. I say "appears" because, of course, we don't have solid sales data, but certainly every Trader who traded on Tuesday 27th December will tell you the post-Christmas tourist created sales boom is alive and well.
Bright spots in retailing are few and far between these days and the quandary now is how that knowledge can be used to full advantage. But first, let's get things into perspective. The takings of Specialty Merchandise Traders before Christmas pales by comparison with fresh food. I think we all get that. The hype surrounding our food offer, particularly at that time of year, is well deserved and a joy to behold for every fan of retailing. But after Christmas, when fresh food traders are looking for time off, the Specialty Merchandise Traders need to take every opportunity and need the lions share of QVM resources to maximise their opportunities.
The lesson is simple. While one sector of QVM shuts down on Christmas Eve, another is just getting ready for peak business. This market rarely sleeps. And that is a lesson for everybody associated with QVM including those traders who missed an opportunity to trade on Tuesday 27th December.
By Greg Smith.