The prime minister’s retail guru believes street markets can revive Britain’s high streets. But try telling that to the flower-sellers and costermongers of London’s Berwick Street market.
Mary “Queen of Shops” Portas, the prime minister’s fashionable retail guru, believes street markets are the key to revitalising Britain’s dying high streets.
The retail expert – whose Yellow Door consultancy has a client list that includes the upmarket cosmetic brand Clinique, the Louis Vuitton luxury label and the vast Westfield shopping malls in London – claimed this week that old-fashioned market stalls can draw shoppers back to deserted city centres and ease unemployment as well.
“On a market stall people can try out their ideas and get their business booming without too much cost,” she said as she launched her long-awaited report. “It’s great for our town centres too, bringing in fresh ideas and products, and preserving our nation’s cultural heritage.”
But how vibrant are our existing markets, and just how easy is it to set up a pitch and start making money?
The Guardian tried to get a pitch on Berwick Street in London’s Soho – one of Britain’s most historic markets. Westminster council said Berwick Street, and the council’s four other markets, were full to capacity and the only option was to submit an “expression of interest”.
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