Queen Victoria Market Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Melbourne. Queen Victoria Market Pty Ltd is responsible for managing the day to day operations of the market. As owners of the Queen Victoria Market, the City of Melbourne has oversight and responsibility for any capital improvements at the site.
The Queen Victoria Market occupies 7 hectares (approx 2 city blocks) within the Melbourne Central Business District and has been operated by the Council or the Company for over 130 years.
There are 140 leasehold premises and over 600 periodical licence stallholders. It is a well-known historic and cultural icon for the City of Melbourne and is the largest and most original of all the retail markets in the metropolitan area. It has national and international significance as an historic open market.
The Market is very much a fresh food market based on fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, chicken and delicatessen lines. General lines include clothing, footwear and accessories. Giftware and souvenirs have become an important part of the Market with particular appeal to interstate and overseas tourists as well as segments of the local market. Take away food and coffee have had significant growth over the last few years.
The Market first opened on Sundays in 1979, initially trading in general merchandise which considerably strengthened revenue and its consumer appeal for general lines. Fresh food trading on Sundays commenced in 1994. Since then the Sunday trade in the food area has developed well.
The general trading area has experienced substantially increased competition as a result of more options for shoppers, especially on Sundays.
The Sunday Market has also become a major shopping and tourist destination in its own right. Food trading on Sundays has grown substantially. Queen Street, on Sundays, with plants, coffee, pancakes and other offerings, is now a strong, colourful trading area sought by traders. The theme of Sunday being a “family” day is supplemented by live entertainment with bands, fashion parades and other activities in Queen Street.
There have been many changes during the Market’s operation over the years. A strategy has been implemented to make the facilities of the Market more available outside normal Market operating times, especially in the evenings. This strategy, of encouraging additional uses, has been very successful. There are now regular annual events such as Opera in the Market, which attract large audiences each year plus two major seasonal events, the Summer and Winter Night Markets.