Mary Portas Scholarship Winners to Meet ‘Queen of Shops’

Winners of an exclusive scholarship package to attend three master classes from the hugely successful Mary Portas guide to successful retailing, will also meet Mary "Queen of Shops" herself, it has been announced.

Confirmation that the five winners will be invited to meet the Queen of Shops, comes with just eight days remaining for retailers to apply for the chance to attend the three most popular master classes in the programme.

Retailers now have until midnight on Friday, October 8th, to submit their applications for the scholarships, being offered by Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail.

Thanks to their sponsorship of the package, one of the scholarships is being offered exclusively to customers of Hallis Hudson, suppliers of soft furnishings, curtain hardware and workroom products for the trade.

Worth well over £1,000 each, the prizes include three full days of retail training from 25th to 27th January 2011, two nights’ accommodation in central London with breakfast, and lunch on all three days. And as with all master classes, training will be delivered by retail experts, quality assured by the National Skills Academy for Retail.

The scholarship prize will feature the three most popular master classes:

  • My shop, my future: Building, mobilising and maintaining a vision for your business
  • Selling and service skills: Standing out from the crowd with customer service that brings success
  • Creating desire: Visual merchandising and the ‘wow’ factor to set your shop apart from the rest

All five winners will then be invited to meet Mary at a VIP event to be held in March 2011.

Created by Skillsmart Retail and inspired by the Queen of Shops herself, the Mary Portas guide to successful retailing is made up of seven master classes and is aimed at giving small and independent retailers the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to compete in today’s tough retail landscape.

Anne Seaman, Chief Executive of Skillsmart Retail said:

“Anyone who has seen Mary Portas’ television shows will know that she always says it as it is and that she gets results. This scholarship package will not only allow each retailer to learn Mary’s theory, but then to meet her in person.”

“We have already received applications from across the UK and even as far afield as Ireland and Australia, so I urge all retailers to take advantage of this exclusive, money-can’t-buy, scholarship package.”

Delivered exclusively though the National Skills Academy for Retail’s network of 35 retail skills shops on high streets and in shopping centres throughout the country, the Mary Portas guide to successful retailing comprises easy to understand step-by-step guides, interactive workshops and video case studies with insights drawn from Mary’s own wealth of retail knowledge. Each gives the hints and tips needed to turn a business into a productive, high-performing retail store.

Mary Portas said:

“We’re losing independents from our high streets, we have huge multiples that are driving in with sophisticated operations and we need to bring that sophistication and knowledge in a different way to the independent sector.

“I’ve been working with Skillsmart Retail because they have the infrastructure and the ability to really make this happen. I’ve worked with them on the vision and they have developed an incredible training course that I’m proud to put my name to.”

For more information on the scholarships and to download an application form, please visit

For more information on the Mary Portas guide to successful retailing, please visit

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