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Mary Portas

speaker location icon London, UK

British retail adviser, journalist and television presenter

Goverment adviser on the British high street (2011)

Creative Director at Harvey Nichols (1990-1999)

Mary Portas is the UK’s leading authority on retail and brand communication. She is credited with turning Harvey Nichols into a modern fashion brand in the ’90s. She became a member of the company’s board at the age of 30. Since 1997 she has been running Yellowdoor, a brand agency. She has also worked for leading UK retailers such as John Lewis, Harrods and TopShop.

In 2011 Mary was commissioned by the Prime Minister David Cameron to lead an independent review into the Future of the High Street. She delivered the report in December 2011, outlining 28 recommendations for rescuing the nation’s failing high streets. The government is due to respond in spring 2012, but has already announced that 12 towns will have the opportunity to become Portas Pilots – receiving the support of the Local Government Minister, Whitehall, and Mary herself, as well as a share of £1m.

Mary is a household name in the UK due to her career as TV presenter. Her first book, “Windows: The Art of Retail Display” (1999), was published in five languages. She also writes a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph magazine. Mary was appointed as Global Retail Ambassador for Save the Children in 2009. Since 2011 Mary has opened her own store selling a range of footwear, clothing and accessories.

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Our Comment

"Mary is a successful retail consultant, endowed with a unique business acumen that has earned her the title “Queen of the Shops”. She regularly travels around the world to lecture on branding within the retail sector."

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