Retail consultant Mary Portas has been confirmed to speak at the British Independent Retailers Association’s (bira) 2015 High Street Conference, which will be held at Chesford Grange in Warwickshire on May 13.
The broadcaster, known for her retail- and business-related TV shows, will discuss the challenges that independent retailers face as well as the opportunities they can embrace, as the bira High Street Conference looks at the future of retailing.
Portas’ goal in recent years has been to bring economic and community life back to our high streets, making them desirable destinations to enjoy and visit. She will talk delegates through her vision and the steps she has taken with the Government to secure our high streets for the future.
Mary Portas said: “We’ll never have back the high streets of old, nor should we. But with creative reimagination, policy change from Government and a society who knows the value of their high street, I’m hopeful for the high street of our future.”
Mary will join fellow speaker Andrew McMillan, recognised as an expert in customer service from his 20-year career with the John Lewis Partnership, at the conference. Andrew’s presentation will focus on the customer experience and how this will contribute to the survival of independents on our high streets. Delegates will also be able to hear from retailers and suppliers on their strategies for the future including Joan Woulfe, managing director of Cooking Marvellous and the new chair of the Cookshop & Housewares Association (CHA).
Incoming bira President and independent retailer Cliff Elliott said: “Independent retailers have a crucial part to play in the survival of our high streets. We can no longer sit back and wait for something to happen. Embracing and implementing change and continuing to offer a service like no other will all help to future-proof our businesses and our high streets. We are thrilled to have such a high calibre of speakers this year; speakers who will leave our delegates inspired, motivated and excited for the future.”
The conference also offers an interactive themed exhibition of information, services and products, which will provide opportunities for delegates to speak directly with service providers and suppliers about the practical ways to save money and prosper. Event host, Alexis Conran of BBC’s ‘The Real Hustle’, will be on hand to entertain with insights into the world of scams.
The event will culminate with a Gala Awards Dinner, where independent retailers and suppliers who have done excellent work in the last year will be recognised and honoured. Evening entertainment will be provided by tribute band ‘The Rollin’ Clones’.
Visit www.thehighstreetconference.co.uk for more information and to book places.