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Mary Portas: ‘Technology has the potential for extraordinary disruption’

Mary Portas at the Retail Technology Show

The ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas has praised the constant updates in retail technology claiming it “has the potential for extraordinary disruption.”

Speaking at the 2023 Retail Technology Show (RTS), Portas commended the updates post-pandemic, stating that it allowed people to “collaborate and come together with different communities”

“What technology did for innovation and creativity for businesses is extraordinary,” she said. “It has allowed some businesses to completely start online and what it has done for small, innovative businesses to start has been incredible.”

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She added: “We can have great constant messages that we’re putting out tech when it comes to how we get products to people.

Using department store John Lewis as an example, Portas said “unless we’ve got the soul at the heart of the business, technology just becomes an operational tool.”

This comes as Portas wrote an open letter to John Lewis bosses that “failure is not an option”, after reports that the company could be diluting its partnership structure as a result of continued losses.

In the letter, Portas stated: “We can’t lose you too. So while you fight for the financial brain of your brand, never forget there’s a battle for its heart and soul too.”

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