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Mary Portas stars in Save Our Shops documentary


It is sad that Mary Portas signed off the show by saying “for the smaller independent retailers, I don’t think there is anyone there who is going to lend them a hand”. Thankfully for the many increasingly desperate shops out there, this is not the case. At Skillsmart Retail, Sector Skills Council for Retail, we believe that the launch of the National Skills Academy for Retail, a network of retail training centres or ‘skills shops’ located on high streets and in shopping centres across the UK, offers a solution. Designed to help support both successful and struggling retailers, the National Skills Academy for Retail skills shops offer free advice and access to a range of services, including forthcoming retail masterclasses for independents. In attendance at the launch event for the National Skills Academy for Retail was Charlie Mayfield, a vocal supporter of the concept and, incidentally, contributor to the programme. In his speech at the launch, the Chairman of John Lewis, said: “It’s absolutely the right time for businesses to be investing in skills”. And he couldn’t be more right. Recent UKCES research has revealed that companies investing in the skills of their workforce are 2.5 times more likely to survive than those who do not. Also in the show, Sainsbury’s boss Justin King explained how his supermarket chain has battled the downturn by cutting prices and adding value. But part of the reason Sainsbury's growth has outstripped most of its rivals must also be attributed to its excellent, structured and comprehensive training offer. At Skillsmart Retail’s recent Parliamentary Reception, King spoke passionately about it, saying: ”We have posted good results recently and one of the reasons for this, we believe, is investing in quality and having that consistent offer to customers. Investing in people is exactly the same. Organisations that continue to invest in training will be rewarded with loyalty and hard work”. As one of the Tewkesbury retailers said in the programme: “We get back as much as we put into it”. In these tough times, your local skills shop can help you put more in, making a connection to the training that could help you survive and thrive. Independent retailers in need of help in the recession should visit to find their local skills shop and discover how they can get help for their business.

Posted date

26 June 2009

Posted time

4:43 pm