Tuesday, September 6, 2011

News: Mary Portas visits Rotherham town centre


Mary Portas, leading retail marketing consultant, will visit Rotherham town centre today as she continues to lead an independent review into the future of the High Street.

Launched in May, the review is identifying what government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets.

The review will examine the case for developing town centres that contribute to promoting economic growth, creating jobs and improving quality of life in local areas and explore new business models for high streets relevant to the modern consumer.

The results of the review will be used to recommend what action government, businesses and other organisations should take to create diverse, sustainable high streets where businesses of all sizes and independent retailers are able to thrive.

During today's visit Mary Portas will speak to high street businesses, local authorities and shoppers.

Mary Portas said: "We have had a fantastic response to the review so far and received a huge number of ideas. I am actively encouraging everyone who cares about the future of the high street to have their say. I am working through all the ideas in the many contributions received and listening to key stakeholders including big and small retailers.

"My visit to Rotherham promises to be as informative as my recent high street visits. These visits give me the chance to meet important stakeholders and look at the success of local solutions to high street problems."

Rotherham has earned recognition for an innovative new grants scheme which was used as an example by the previous government and The British Retail Consortium (BRC) as a way of helping to attract independent retailers into the town centre.

The initiative, funded by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, is part of a drive to improve the range of shops and reduce the number of empty units in the town. It provides specialist shopkeepers with up to 50% of the rental costs in year one and 25% in year two, as well as support towards shopfitting costs.

The Source Skills Academy Rotherham opened on the High Street recently, a new initiative designed to support local businesses and help expand Rotherham town centre. It is designed to offer advice, guidance and training services to Rotherham businesses to increase skills levels and to support trade in the town centre, attracting new investment. The Source run various training courses including Mary Portas Masterclasses.

The retail guru was last in the borough when the CSL sofa store was featured on Channel 4's "Mary Portas: Secret Shopper" earlier this year. In the programme, Mary highlighted that she believed CSL should focus on increasing customer interaction. The company have used her feedback to invest £25,000 in creating the high-tech Inspiration Station.

Rotherham town centre website
Mary Portas website

Images: maryportas.com


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