Criticism and praise for Rugby as BBC’s Mary Queen of Shops comes to town

Mary Queen of Shops visited Rugby today (Wednesday), where she spoke with local business owners.
Mary Queen of Shops visited Rugby today (Wednesday), where she spoke with local business owners.
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RETAIL expert Mary Portas didn’t pull any punches when she visited Rugby yesterday (Wednesday).

The celebrity, who presents BBC’s Mary Queen of Shops, met local retailers and town centre management firm Rugby First team to hear their ideas and concerns.

She is carrying out a government-backed review aimed at halting the decline of the High Street.

Mary, who is due to present her findings in the autumn, said: “Come on Rugby, it’s time to get your act together and turn the town into a place where people want to be.

“Good customer focus should be at the heart of any business, especially now people have so many choices to shop elsewhere.”

Robin Richter, chairman of Rugby First, said: “Mary’s such a big personality and she’s going to take back a number of points that were raised.”

Helen Blamires, who owns Vanilla in Albert Street and is soon to open a second shop across the road, said: “Mary said Vanilla was the perfect example of how it should be done.”

Bev Thomas, who runs Etcetera and Etcetera Style in Regent Street, was also singled out for praise. She raised the issue of empty shops with the retailing expert.