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Queen of shops will investigate benefits of multi-channel

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Retail expert Mary Portas has been appointed to lead an independent review into the future of the High Street. As part of her remit she will be exploring the benefits of taking a multi-channel approach to suit the modern shopper, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has confirmed to Internet Retailing. A spokesman at BIS said: “Mary will be looking at best practice across the retail industry as part of her review, and that means exploring how retailers currently operate through physical stores and through the internet and other channels. It’s too early to say what recommendations will come from the review, but if there are business models such as the multi-channel approach that are seen as helping retailers become more successful and sustainable, they will be included in the review.”

The Prime Minister announced the review today saying it will identify what government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets. It will also form part of the Government’s wider Growth Review which is examining how to remove the barriers to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The High Street should be at the very heart of every community, bringing people together, providing essential services and creating jobs and investment; so it is vital that we do all that we can to ensure they thrive. That is why I am delighted that Mary Portas has agreed to take on this review and I am confident that her straight talking, no nonsense approach will help us to create vibrant and diverse town centres and bring back the bustle to our high streets."

Mary Portas said: “With town centre vacancy rates doubling over the last two years the need to take action to save our high streets has never been starker. I am calling on businesses, local authorities and shoppers to contribute their ideas on how we can halt this decline in its tracks and create town centres that we can all be proud of.”

As part of her review Mary Portas will advise on how Government, businesses and shoppers can address the problem of vacant shops, and prevent the proliferation of ‘clone town’. She aims to help retailers adopt new business models for the high street that fit the needs of the modern shopper. As part of her review Mary Portas will visit a number of town centres and engagement events across England. Mary Portas will present the review to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), by autumn 2011.

To contribute to the review please visit: www.bis.gov.uk/highstreet

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