Town teams need to think about the skills behind the shopfront

Skillsmart Retail welcomed the announcement on Saturday that £1 million funding has been made available to help towns across the country implement The Portas Review.


Skillsmart Retail Chief Executive Anne Seaman commented: “Whilst we welcome the promise of support for towns and partnerships, it’s important not to forget that retail isn’t just about bricks and mortar: it’s an industry driven by people. It’s essential that retailers improve their skills and equip themselves with the knowledge to compete in today’s tough environment. Ensuring retailers, especially smaller, independent retailers, are aware of the training and support that is available is vital if we are going to help our high streets not just today but tomorrow and in the future.


“Establishing Town Teams will encourage retailers to work together and look at the larger issues. A substantial portion of the feedback we receive on our retail business courses, including the Guide to Successful Retailing available through the National Skills Academy for Retail, is that it’s not only about improving core skills such as buying, merchandising and marketing, but about the opportunity to come together as retailers, not competitors; it’s about realising that they often face the same challenges and can share information and ideas.


“Indeed our campaign Independents’ Day which encourages independents to promote themselves as part of a diverse retail mix, shows us that given the right stimulus, towns will take the initiative and really make a splash. Often with the support of their Town Centre Manager, retailers are bringing customers back to high streets for all the right reasons.”


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