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Mary to tackle menswear in new Queen of Shops shows

Retail troubleshooter Mary Portas has started the search for five new fashion independents to take part in the second series of Mary Queen of Shops.

At least one of these will be the series' first menswear-only business, and the new programmes will focus more on how successful clothing businesses get it right.

Portas said menswear would be the biggest challenge in the new series. "It's very hard to build a complete men's retail brand on its own," she said. "The core middle market for men is very hard. How many solo menswear shops do you see on the high street?"

Portas' crop of ailing retailers will also meet key industry figures and be given a taste of how fashion is sold on a grander scale. "We're showing them best practice by taking them out of the shop," added Portas. "We want to inspire them and give some rigour to their training. It's not a makeover show; we're giving them real business guidance."

Five of the six episodes in the series, produced by Optomen, will focus on new stores, and an hour-long special will see Portas revisiting the four shops from the original series. Filming starts in October and the series will air in spring 2008.

To take part, email queenofshops@optomen.com or phone 020 7967 1264.

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