MARY, CONTRARY: Mary Portas, the outspoken British fashion p.r., TV personality and retail expert, has unveiled a whole host of ways to shake up down-and-out shopping streets across the U.K. She made headlines in Britain this week after presenting “The Portas Review,” an independent report about the future of the British high streets commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron. Among her proposals are more market stalls with fewer regulations so that “budding shopkeepers” can try out low-cost retail businesses; more business rate concessions to new local businesses; free controlled parking schemes; more sympathetic landlords; a public register of landlords, and a “Town Team” whose job it would be to plan for the future.
“I want to put the heart back into the center of our high streets, reimagined as destinations for socializing, culture, health, wellbeing, creativity and learning,” she said in the report. “The new high streets won’t just be about selling goods. They should become places where we go to engage with other people in our communities, where shopping is just one small part of a rich mix of activities.”
This story first appeared in the December 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.