Tag Archives: shopping

Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ to champion Sutton

Hight Street guru Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas is being recruited by Sutton Coldfield BID

High street guru Portas is ready to inspire town businesses

World famous shopping and retail guru Mary Portas is bringing her expertise to Sutton Coldfield to help invigorate the heart of the town.

Royal Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) – which is funded by 377 local businesses – has invited Portas to address local businesses at a seminar in the town centre this June.

BID chair Alison Clack, Managing Director of Cerda Planning, said: “We are very excited by the prospect of Mary Portas coming to Sutton Coldfield and sharing her knowledge and expertise in a way that will inspire local businesses.

“The BID understands that Sutton Coldfield town centre, like most towns and High Streets across the UK, is going through a period of change and we simply cannot ignore the concerns expressed in the media and on social media.

“We feel that an inspirational seminar from a renowned expert in this field will help to bring local businesses together with a renewed sense of resilience and pride in their town centre.

“High Streets and town centres are changing and, at the seminar, businesses from all sectors will hear first-hand how they can work together and overcome the challenges they face.

“As a BID representing hundreds of local businesses in the town centre, we want to change the narrative that Sutton Coldfield is more than just retail and be as proactive as possible. Bringing in Mary Portas to share her knowledge and expertise will go some way to help in these challenging times.”

Businesswoman, broadcaster, author and activist Portas is the UK’s best known retail guru who, in 2011, conducted a review of the future for high streets for the British government.

After becoming a board member at Harvey Nichols at the age of 30, she founded her creative consultancy Portas, going on to work with some of the biggest names in global retail.

Her BBC series – Mary Queen of Shops and she has presented on television and radio for the BBC and Channel 4 ever since. Mary’s current podcast series include Beautiful Misfits and #1 business podcast The Kindness Economy.

As Chair of the Better Business Act campaign Mary remains very relevant and responsive to the changing business agenda.

Sutton Coldfield town centre is the Second City’s second biggest shopping and business area, second only in size to Birmingham city centre, and its BID delivers year round events to boost footfall such as the monthly Farmers and Craft Market and Christmas events.

Last year the BID commenced its new five-year term by launching a vibrant new ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ brand – with special events, competitions and improvements designed to make it a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.

The programme of events has seen a significant upturn in footfall for the centre, and more are planned throughout 2023.

BID Manager Michelle Baker said: “Bringing an expert of Mary Portas’s stature to Sutton Coldfield for this seminar is the next step in the renewal of our town centre, which the BID is driving through investment in special events and improvements.

“We know there are exciting regeneration plans for the town centre and until that gets underway we will continue to play our part and host events to boost footfall and support local businesses.

“We encourage businesses to attend this event with Mary Portas, to hear how town centres are changing and how we can all play our part.”

The seminar, which will be held on Wednesday 7th June at Sutton Coldfield College, will free to BID Members – but will be invite only.

To find out more about the event, inquire about attendance and discover sponsorship opportunities, contact Michelle Baker, Sutton Coldfield BID Manager, by emailing: bidmanager@suttoncoldfieldtowncentre.co.uk

First Poundland Local to open in Sutton

How the new smaller Poundland Local will look

Poundland is to open its first West Midlands ‘Poundland Local’ store in Sutton Coldfield

It is following in the footsteps of the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s with their compact local stores.
The Boldmere Road store is part of a pilot scheme to bring convenience shopping to neighbourhoods it does not currently serve.

The first Poundland Local store in the West Midlands will open later this summer at the busy Boldmere Road shopping area in Sutton.

Poundland transformation and retail director, Austin Cooke, said: “Each of the new stores will have a range of items tailored to suit the needs of customers in each neighbourhood, whether they live or work locally.

“In the current economic climate, people are carefully watching how much they spend, and we want them to know that convenience shopping does not have to mean they compromise on value for money.”

The Poundland Local format was unveiled in May 2021, with four convenience stores in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. Under the pilot scheme, Poundland is actively looking for other suitable locations particularly inside the M25.

Poundland Local stores typically employ around 12 staff and offer items from the main store’s core range, including groceries, snacks, household products, health and beauty and batteries.

Customers will also find items they would expect in a convenience store including fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled and frozen food, bread and morning goods, hot pies and pastries, nappies and formula milk, beers, wines and spirits.

Walsall-based Poundland has a network of over 850 stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Slow progress on Mere Green Lidl

Work on the new Lidl store at the former Lucas factory site in Mere Green appears to be making slow progress since work got under way back in November. The store is expected to be completed some time this year.

While the work is progressing, traffic has been affected by the comings and going of construction traffic and temporary traffic lights, while dozens of letters of objection had previously been received from residents raising concerns over traffic levels and pollution fears.

The site has now been fenced off after diggers and bulldozers converged on the former industrial site in Mere Green Road, Sutton Coldfield.

Work does appear to be going at something of a snail’s pace when other Lidl stores, notably the newest one in Lichfield appeared to get built in no time at all. When asked for a progress report on the work or a potential opening date, Lidl had little to offer other than the obvious. A statement said: “We can confirm that construction has started on site and we will be issuing a release with full details of the store for the local community in due course.”

The former contaminated site has been an eyesore for many years, following the factory demolition and the time needed to get rid of the contamination at the site

This two-acre site is now being developed despite original plans being sent back to the drawing board during the planning process, before finally being approved. One local councillor described the original Lidl design as looking like a brown and white shed.

The site will include the store and a number of parking spaces, finally opening up a site that has been blocked off with blue boarding for more than 10 years.

The store will offer a budget alternative to the giant Sainsbury’s store opposite, but is sure to create extra traffic and congestion in the busy Mere Green area. However there will be new jobs and a likely boost to the local economy with increased footfall.

The development could be the final piece in the jigsaw in the renaissance of Mere Green. The area been blighted for years with rows of boarded up shops, but that finally gave way to the Mulberry Walk development. Anchored by the Marks & Spencer food hall, the new shops and a number of smart bars, restaurants, coffee shops and a gym, complement the existing shops on Lichfield Road.

Four Oaks ward councillor Maureen Cornish has broadly welcomed the new store. She previously said: “Lidl will provide versatile shopping giving the public more choice, it will increase the footfall and competition between similar stores provides shoppers.”