Thursday, September 8, 2011

News: Portas positive on prospects for Rotherham town centre


After meeting local businesses and touring the town centre, leading retail marketing consultant, Mary Portas was positive for the future retail prospects in Rotherham.

Famous for transforming the Harvey Nichols brand, Mary was in town 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.

She congratulated Rotherham Borough Council for getting new retailers on their feet: "I have seen a lot of new traders and they have been grateful to Rotherham Council for actually getting behind them. To bring new retailers back into town requires financial support, management support and business support, which I found quite inspiring.

"Some of the retailers I thought, honestly, were better than some in the heart of London, which I found astounding."

She particularly singled out Imperial Buildings-based Gemma Nemer and her creative business, The Button Tin, for praise, saying: "the girl that's got all the vintage (apparel) that does the teas, what she's done, along with the tea shop (Shocolat) and the sweet shop (Whistle Stop Sweet Shop), actually created retailing that's about a real experience and service, which is something we've lost.

"I'm actually disappointed that I didn't get chance to shop in Rotherham. I love the fact that I stood in the market and the things that we need in life, which you just do not see any more, were there.

"Rotherham looks really good. There's some (towns) I've seen I just probably think there isn't a future for. (Rotherham) looks like one that will get itself back up."

Councillor Roger Stone, Leader of Rotherham MBC, said: "It's been a pleasure to welcome Mary to Rotherham today and we're delighted with her response to what we are looking to achieve here. It is great to have some independent support for everything we are all doing in the town centre.

"Mary has confirmed our belief that the town is on the up and she is now taking forward the message that Rotherham is an area of best practice when it comes to regeneration. She has clearly been impressed by the variety on offer here and also by what we as a Council are doing and how we’ve got a grip on the challenges the town has had to face."

Rotherham town centre website

Images: RMBC


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