Mary Portas, the TV personality appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to advise on the future of the high street, will start work this week with the first of a series of high-level meetings with the UK’s top retailers.
Portas will kick off with a meeting with Tesco UK chief executive Richard Brasher, the Financial Times reported.
Although Portas is keen to speak with other big retailers, the meeting with Tesco is the only one scheduled at present. She is understood to be especially anxious to meet Brasher because of Tesco’s size and influence in the UK.
Despite her high profile support of independents and her most recent television series, in which she criticised some well-known retailers, Portas insisted that she is approaching the meeting with Tesco with an open mind. She maintained: “There is no point in me coming in to this with any sort of sledge hammer. I want to just hear and listen to their plans and what they think will be happening.”
She acknowledged: “These guys have been in the retail business for many years, and are terribly sophisticated at it. I have an understanding of what is happening in consumerism. I want them to also share with me their findings and knowledge.”
Tesco said it saw the meeting as an opportunity “to engage positively in the review… We are looking forward to sharing our views and experience of the high street.”