Friday, 27 July 2012

The future of shopping?

So on my lunch hour the other day, I finally caught up with the report that Mary Portas wrote for the UK government recently.  It focuses on the decline of the British High Street, and proposes specific measures that will be tested in pilot sites across the UK to drive change and improvement to our town centre shopping experiences.

It made for really interesting reading, and unlike many of the government reviews I read at work outside of my lunch hour, it's written in a clear and engaging way.  Mary's voice comes through loud and clear. I like this because although most of the reviews and reports of this variety are very much team efforts, and can read in a disjointed or artificial way.  Outside of the world of handmade and retail, I like anything that makes government and political issues easier to engage with, so that's a big tick for me.

You'll notice I'm not summarising or giving a precis of the report at all.  Sneaky.  That's because I think everyone who owns a wallet and wants to have a face to face shopping experience in Britain in the future needs to read this report for themselves. 

The pilot sites were revealed on the BBC website the other day, and they are all based in England, which is disappointing.  However, I noticed a project in my local town, Stirling, taking forward a similar approach to that mentioned in the report and pioneered by The Empty Shops Network, amongst other similar organisations, and forward thinking city councils.

With change and opportunity on the horizon, as a designer/maker and shopper and supporter of British made goods and independent retail, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.