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‘Queen of Shops’ not fronting Independents’ Day initiative

Indies across the country are gearing up for Independents’ Day on Monday, despite news that retail guru Mary Portas will not be involved in the initiative.

Event organiser Skillsmart Retail had billed Independents’ Day - which encourages the public to buy at least one item from an indie on July 4 - as being launched by Portas at an event yesterday, where she was due to sign a “declaration of independents”, a move that had been welcomed by the indie community.

However, a spokesman for Portas said she would not be fronting the initiative, although he dismissed suggestions that she decided not to get involved in case it aligned her too closely with indies while she is conducting a cross-retail review of the high street for the Government.

Peter Cross, with whom Portas runs PR firm Yellow Door, stressed that she remained firmly committed to supporting independents, but was unable to attend the event.

“Mary thinks it’s a fabulous project. She’s always been a big fan of independents but is, regrettably, away on holiday. It’s such a shame, but she’s looking forward to seeing how the day went,” he added.

Meanwhile, indies have been preparing for Monday’s festivities and are hoping for widespread support among consumers.

Paul Turner-Mitchell, director of young fashion indie 25 Ten in Rochdale, said: “A day of ‘celebration’ of indies can only be a positive step, but its success will depend very much on how indies embrace the day, and the level of support they receive.”

Natalie Peters, owner of mainstream indie Amabo Boutique in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, has placed posters in her shop windows and promotions in local newspapers. She said she was hopeful the initiative would raise footfall, but added: “As it is the first one, it might take a while to build.”

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