Sunday 29 September 2019

Punting, QVM, And Change

A colleague Trader once said that we are all gamblers. It is the anticipation, the possibility of riches, that brings Traders to the market each day with a positive mindset. But riches are becoming harder to find and there is another punting connection that might be relevant here.

Have you been to a horse or dog race meeting lately? If you have, you were probably part of a very small crowd. The gambling industry is strong, but the old practice of going to the racetrack and experiencing the sights, sounds, and buzz of a big crowd has changed. Punters now rely on modern technology to do their gambling and no longer have to go to the track. They have sacrificed the buzz for convenience.

There is a clear analogy with shopping trends. Customers who don’t wish to venture out shopping can do it online. They won’t get the buzz of shopping and they can get goods delivered to their door. It is all about convenient alternatives.

The local punting industry of course hasn’t abandoned crowds and clearly has a plan of attack for the Spring Carnival in 2019. The latest TV campaign is enticing punters with the prospect of dressing up, socialising, having a good time, and even hitching up with a partner. They are selling the entertainment value of going to the track. QVM has its Night Market and the Queen Street Festivals to do similar things, but the poor old Upper Market seems to miss out in the entertainment stakes.

So what do we do with the Upper market? Do we need to re-invent it? Is entertainment the answer and is that enough on its own? Do we comprehensively change the way we organise the Upper Market - create interesting variations on the mundane aisle system, introduce some well thought out entertainment elements, and make a real difference? If you were to sit down with a clean sheet of paper, how would you organise the Upper Market?

As a senior banking economist recently said – “The retail sector is in recession – facing structural challenges.” Clearly change is happening, and for the Upper Market, that change might as well be significant. The way business is going, what have we got to lose?