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Mary Portas

Mary Portas

Queen of Shops
Retail expert Mary Portas has advised government, transformed both luxury and
high street stores, written books and produced a host of retail and business-themed
TV programmes. The Chief Creative Officer of her own retail consultancy, and
author of Work Like a Woman: A Manifesto For Change, she delivers an inspiring
message of how businesses and individuals can adapt, transform and lead.

A determined, passionate advocate for British retail, Mary is at the forefront of
making the nation better consumers and the country’s shops better businesses.
Starting her career the shop floor, she rose through the ranks of retail giants John
Lewis, Harrods and TopShop. She was then appointed Creative Director at the
struggling Harvey Nichols store. With the aid of cutting edge artists, designers, and
a TV show called Absolutely Fabulous, Mary turned it into a retail powerhouse and
was on the board of the company by the age of 30. She has since worked with
some of the world’s premier retail and product brands including Westfield, Clark's,
Dunhill, Louis Vuitton, Mercedes-Benz, Estée Lauder and Boden.

Mary’s style and insight saw her combine advising retailers with a television career.
Her breakthrough, BBC Two’s Mary, Queen of Shops saw her help turnaround
struggling small retail businesses. In Channel 4’s Secret Shopper, she went
undercover in some of the nation’s biggest retailers to expose poor customer
service. She’s since fronted series on charity shops, fashion, manufacturing, and
her efforts to rejuvenate the high street. She’s also looked at retail and product
trends in What Britain Buys and the lack of choice for older shoppers.

In speeches Mary discusses the changes in consumer behaviour as a result of the
economy, the digital revolution and efforts to protect the environment. With
critical insight, she examines how different retail sectors are responding and how
brands of all shapes and sizes can best stand out. She also looks at the mistakes
retailers make, and how to fix them.

Mary’s high profile government review into struggling British high streets led to
the creation of pilot regeneration projects around the UK and a new focus on what
town centres are for and their place in social and business life. Mary is also the
author of books including How to Shop with Mary Queen of Shops, Windows: The
Art of Retail Display and her memoir Shop Girl. She has founded two retail
consultancies working with both luxury and high street brands, and has launched
her own fashion and footwear brands. She also founded the charity shop Mary’s
Living and Giving, which went on to open 25 stores and raise millions for Save The
Children.
Sessions