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Retailer squares up to Portas with new high street review

British high streets have attracted yet another high profile crusader, with former Wickes and Iceland boss Bill Grimsey pledging to take a different approach to saving town centres.

In unveiling the move Grimsey – who is asking interested parties to get in touch as part of the initial consultation – was highly critical of the work of the government and Mary Portas so far.

Promises of creating a vibrant and diverse high street had failed to materialised, he claimed.

“The carnage we continue to see on the high street through record insolvencies thousands of job losses and boarded up shops tells another story,” Grimsey said on his website. “High street policy isn’t working. A different approach is needed – fast.”

Industry veteran Grimsey, who has worked in the retail sector for 45 years, said he had “decided to embark on a fresh review pulling together a team of experts to get to grips with the real issues facing the future of our high streets”.

He will report a list of recommendations in autumn but will regularly feed key findings back to the industry and wider public.

Grimsey added: “It won’t be flashy, there won’t be a TV series at the end of it and we won’t be calling on Chas’n’Dave. But I can promise it will be serious and won’t duck the big issues.”

 To get involved, email Grimsey on

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