Portas report: half of consumer spend off high street

Portas report: half of consumer spend off high street

Mary Portas is expected to suggest cutting regulations for traders and launching a national market day to help save Britain’s high streets from "dying" in her report released later this morning.

The much-anticipated report of the "Mary Queen of Shops" television presenter on the future of the UK’s high street was commissioned by the government in May and is expected to contain around 30 recommendations to slow the decline of town centres and shop vacancies. 

In it, she also says more than 50% of total consumer spend is off British high streets for the first time, according to Sky News.

Portas is also expected to recommend the relaxation of licensing rules for market stalls to make it easier for people to set up stands, a national market day to help drive traffic towards shops and a relaxation of planning laws to encourage new developments in town centres, among other ideas.  "Many [high streets] are sickly, others are on the critical list and some are now dead," the Telegraph reports Portas will say in her report.

The Booksellers Association's chief executive, Tim Godfray, recently called on publishers and the government to do more to help bookshops stay on the high street.

In a letter to Portas in August, Godfray said: "The book industry will do all it can to foster change and seek new ways to operate, but it may not be enough to preserve the bookshop. If we wish to retain a vibrant high street, that are not mere ‘clone towns’ but act as the true heart of a community, then we need outlets that promote art, literacy and entertainment. 

"We hope the Government will seriously take on board cultural and social aspects in the High Street Review, which bring benefits over and above merely providing consumers with goods and services. But help is required and we need it now."