Small independent retailers in Birmingham struggling to compete with high street chains were treated to some words of wisdom about staff training from shopping expert Mary Portas.
Ms Portas was guest speaker at The Studio in Birmingham’s Cannon Street for a skills-based event organised by the Learning and Skills Council and Business Link in the West Midlands.
The author and television presenter, best known for her series Mary Queen of Shops, told the retailers: “Shopping is changing and the way people shop has changed. There is too much product out there and more of the high street shops can offer top brands at low prices so you need to focus on the consumer.”
Portas, seen above with Nigel Gaynor, of the LSC, said that the customer now treated shopping as a social activity and accordingly, retailers now had to look at making their shops as welcoming as possible.
Advice ranged from specialising in one area, ensuring staff are experts in the product and able to impart advice to consumers, through to making sure their shops look inviting.