Mary Portas to the rescue

Mary Portas, the star of TV programmes “Mary Queen of Shops” and “Secret Shopper”, has been appointed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to review what can be done to halt the “decline of the high street” in England. Her review will cover the problem of empty shops and the growth of “clone towns” dominated by chainstores and will include visits to town centres and “engagement events” with shop-owners and customers.

She said: “With town centre vacancy rates doubling over the last two years the need to take action to save our high streets has never been starker.”

She will present her findings this autumn to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the aim being “to identify what government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets”.