Mary Portas

Fee Band

  • Conference Speakers£10k to £25k
  • Reputation, Branding & Marketing, Customer Service & CRM, Retail, Business Strategy

Mary is one of the UK’s leading voices on retail and brand communication. Her proposals to rejuvenate the high street have sparked debate and influenced policy at a local level. In presentations Mary picks up on the changes in consumer behaviour as a result of the economy, the digital revolution and efforts to protect the environment. With critical insight, she examines how different retail sectors are responding and how brands of all types can best stand out.


Retail expert Mary Portas has advised government, transformed luxury and high street stores, written books and produced retail and business-themed TV programmes. The Chief Creative Officer of her own retail consultancy, and author of Work Like a Woman: A Manifesto For Change, Mary delivers an inspiring message of how businesses and individuals can adapt, transform and lead.

A passionate advocate for British retail, Mary is at the forefront of making the nation better consumers and the country’s shops better businesses. Starting her career on the shop floor, she rose through the ranks of retail giants John Lewis, Harrods and Top Shop before being appointed Creative Director at the struggling Harvey Nichols store. With the aid of cutting edge artists, designers, and a TV show called Absolutely Fabulous, Mary turned it into a retail powerhouse and was on the board of the company by the age of thirty. She has since worked with some of the world’s premier retail and product brands including Westfield, Clark's, Dunhill, Louis Vuitton, Mercedes-Benz, Estée Lauder and Boden.

Mary’s style and insight saw her combine advising retailers with a television career. Her breakthrough show, BBC Two’s Mary, Queen of Shops saw her help turnaround struggling small retail businesses. In Channel 4’s Secret Shopper, she went undercover in some of the nation’s biggest retailers to expose poor customer service. She’s since fronted series on charity shops, fashion, manufacturing, and her efforts to rejuvenate the high street. She’s also looked at retail and product trends in What Britain Buys and the lack of choice for older shoppers.

In speeches Mary discusses the changes in consumer behaviour as a result of the economy, the digital revolution and efforts to protect the environment. With critical insight, she examines how different retail sectors are responding and how brands of all shapes and sizes can best stand out. She also looks at the mistakes retailers make, and how to fix them.

Mary’s high profile government review into struggling British high streets led to the creation of pilot regeneration projects around the UK and a new focus on what town centres are for and their place in social and business life.

She is also the author of books including How to Shop with Mary Queen of Shops, Windows: The Art of Retail Display, Work Like A Woman, and her memoir Shop Girl. Mary's book Rebuild: How to Thrive in the New Kindness Economy, led to a business podcast of the same name. In her podcast Beautiful Misfits Mary interviews fellow changemakers.


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Book written by Mary Portas OBE


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