RETAIL guru Mary Portas is launching a rescue campaign to save Britain’s struggling high streets, after being called in by Prime Minister David Cameron.
TV’s “Queen of Shops” wants giant supermarket chains like Tesco to hand over some of their profit to help independent shops. The management consultant has been identified as someone with the expertise and personality to drive through changes to lift retailers’ fortunes. Portas, who has worked in retail for 30 years, will give a full report in the department of business, innovation and skills on how to turn around the ailing sector. Cameron said: “Her no nonsense approach will help us to create vibrant and diverse town centres and bring back the bustle to our high streets.”
Portas started her career with a Saturday job in John Lewis. Her first full-time role was with Harrods, where she took charge of the window displays. She then moved onto the job of display manager at Topshop before, at the age of 30, she was appointed creative director at Harvey Nichols. She drafted in younger big-name designers such as Vivienne Westwood. In 2005 Portas began writing her Shop! column for the Telegraph, and began her makeover series Mary, Queen of Shops in 2007. Portas has since made over charity shops and gone undercover to expose poor customer service for her Channel 4 series; Mary Portas: Secret Shopper.