Retailer and turnaround specialist Bill Grimsey has told PCR that well-known consultant and broadcaster Mary Portas will not save the High Street.
When asked by PCR what he thinks is incorrect about Portas’ statements and the suggestions she laid out to government a couple of years ago, Grimsey replied: "The things suggested there are not necessarily wrong, but they’re not gonna solve the problem. It’s what we call papering over the cracks. They’re cosmetic and mostly they are designed to grab headlines for what is a celebrity. And that we think is wrong.
"The Grimsey review was written because we were concerned that the Government’s move to actually get the review done was being used as a way of driving a TV show and income for an individual. If you read the Portas review it’s all about ‘me’ and ‘I’ – wheras the Grimsey review is all about a team of nine people. It’s full of ‘we’ and ‘us’. That’s the significant difference here.
"We’re not interested in just the quick fixes and papering over the cracks because eventually the cracks reappear. We want to get to the root of the structural changes that are impacting society – as a consequence of 21st century technology and the way we as consumers are changing. That’s the bit that needs to be recognised and that’s how we’re gonna make a difference if we use some of the recommendations that we’ve come up with."
Grimsey also criticised the Government for not doing enough to help indies, saying MP Brandon Lewis has "not got enough clout". He plans to convince other political parties to take action.
"Unfortunately the Government is hell bent on sticking with the Mary Portas review and as a consequence we’ve not going to get some of these serious things addressed," he added.
"So we need to convince other political parties perhaps top pick this up and run with it. Because I do think the next general election in May 2015, the High Street and town centres will be high on the agenda for the manifesto. So if I can’t get this government to look at it I’ll have to take it elsewhere."