Rock star Toyah Willcox returns home to Birmingham to hail shopping centres as Britain's new community centres.
Speaking at a retail industry conference at the ICC yesterday, the eighties music idol (pictured) said shopping centres had now become the place to meet and make friends as well as spend money.
Her praise - the Bullring is still her favourite shopping haunt - came as a survey showed women enjoy visiting shopping centres so much they often leave with goods they never use.
And Birmingham women are so obsessed with buying shoes that they own #13 million worth of footwear they have never worn.
The survey by npower found more than one in four women in the city bought clothes or shoes just to take advantage of a special offer or sale.
Mike Lock, from npower, said: "We sampled more than 1,000 people and our calculations suggest that in Birmingham there are #13.1 million worth of new shoes sitting dormant in the bottom of wardrobes and an amazing #637 million worth nationwide."
She said that city Consumers also waste money by letting supermarket food go out of date.