Mary Queen of Shops master classes

Mary Portas has launched a series of master classes aimed at giving small and independent retailers the competitive edge to compete in today’s tough retail climate. Portas said at the launch: ‘We’re losing independents from our high street, we have huge multiples that are driving in with sophisticated operations and we need to bring that sophistication and knowledge in a different way to the independent sector.’ Delivered exclusively through the National Skills Academy for Retail’s network of 31 retail skills shops throughout the country, the master classes are made up of step-by-step guides, interactive workshops, video case studies and an offering of Portas’ own extensive retail knowledge. Anne Seaman, chief executive of Skillsmart Retail, comments: ‘We all know that small towns and villages and high streets up and down the country are suffering in the current economic climate, but it is really important that we have a range of retail on the high streets, and this programme will really help independent retailers make their offer more attractive to their local customers.’ Portas added: ‘It’s actually a real look at how to compete against the massive high street today and train up independents in every facet of retailing that’s relevant to modern retailing.’ If you would like to join, go to


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