Sometimes because of the way her clients try and dig their heels in to avoid change. And sometimes because you can’t believe that people are just ignoring what she says when they’d have to pay a fortune to get such advice from anywhere else!
Over the last few weeks her programs have been a departure from the go into a shop, motivate the owner(s) and revive the shop.
Mary Portas Does It For Charity
In this series we’ve had a concerted campaign to improve the profits of a charity shop. And it proves more awkward than you might expect as volunteers who run it are perfectly capable of saying “forget it, I’m off!” which doesn’t really make for a stable work force.
However, despite the difficulties of working in the charity sector Mary duly helps the shop to double their profits, and at the same time justify employing a full time manager.
And the result is that Mary’s way of handling a charity shop is rolled out to the rest of the charity’s chain of shops across the UK.
Mary also helped other charities by putting on a retailing boot camp where shop managers and volunteers could learn how to sell and position their shops for their customers.
And during the screening I’m sure other charities have taken notes to apply in their own shops.
Mary Portas Saves Tewkesbury Town Centre
The Tewkesbury townsfolk get together and invite Mary Portas to help them “Save Our Shops.”
First she makes sure that she gets thoroughly despondent by checking out how another town is even worse off and how landlords don’t really help themselves by allowing vast swathes of town centres to lie fallow. Unfortunately shops that are not used reduces the footfall to the remaining shops. Some of those shops close which reduces footfall to those that are left and it becomes a vicious circle.
The Mary Portas solution at Tewkesbury is to get as many of the retailers as possible involved in working out possible solutions, rather than simply listening to them whining about what wont work.
This is quite a creative thing to do. However, Mary makes the point during this show that department stores run events all the time. It’s something none of the retailers seemed to latch onto.
A town centre event every month would really help the shopkeepers by increasing footfall into the town centre.
Examples would be: Country fair (which to be fair Tewkesbury ran and the retailers attended); Easter parade; a Tewkesbury raft building weekend; what about a German market, or a Christmas market?; vintage car rally, fun run, run for charity, fashion show or fashion parade…
The list goes on. Anyone can see that there’s a wide variety of inexpensive but interesting events they can hold.