THE Queen of Shops is coming to Leigh.
Retail consultant Mary Portas will look at independent traders and businesses in the town centre for a new Channel 4 TV series.
Optomen Television, the TV production company behind shows such as The Great British Menu, will be making the new series that will see Mary, 54, offer her unique insight, ideas and expertise on the customer experience.
The show’s producers are now looking for independent retailers in the Leigh area that could benefit from her expert help, along with the kind of national exposure money can’t buy.
They’re keen to hear from any business owners or managers who would like fresh ideas to bring customers through the door and put money in the till.
Leigh councillor and town hall chief Lord Peter Smith said that he was delighted to hear that Portas will be bringing her retail expertise to Leigh. He said: “The council already works with the business community through the Leigh Town Centre Management Committee and will look to see how we introduce any changes she suggests.
“The town centre retailing is impacted by both out of town shopping centres and increasingly online shopping. However with the new guided busway coming into Leigh, I think there is an opportunity for an increased footfall which we need to cater for.”
And Cabinet member Coun Susan Loudon said: “Leigh is a thriving town centre with both large and small traders. Most days Bradshawgate, our main shopping area, is bustling with shoppers.
“However any support, or ideas, for retailers in Leigh is always welcome and I am sure business owners will be interested to hear the views of Mary Portas and her team.”
However Atherton opposition Coun Norman Bradbury said: “The most significant improvement for Leigh has been the free parking now available on the Tesco car park, due to its proximity to Leigh Market and the Spinning Gate Shopping Centre.
“This has revitalised these facilities along with the town centre itself, despite the concerns expressed by market traders before it was built regarding the competition posed by Tesco.
“The advantage that out of town retail centres have over our traditional Town Centre shopping areas is free parkingand I am sure that this is one of the key elements needed to revitalising our town centre’s shopping.
“Local authorities need to play their part and provide free parking on their municipal car parks to help revitalise their local shopping centres.”
Portas is now regarded as one of the UK’s foremost authorities on retail and brand communication and regularly travels around the world advising on retail strategy while lecturing on the theme of brands and retail.
* If you would like your business to take part email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44(0)203 227 5987.