Speaker Spotlight: Mary Queen of Shops Portas, TV Retail Presenter


With her years of expertise, Mary Portas has produced a range of television shows and published novels, that centre around all things retail. She frequently features on radio and TV programmes, where she shares her insight on the future of retail, acting as the national spokesperson for the complex industry. Take a look at Mary Portas’s career on the screen, as she explores a range of topics from customer service to business development, whilst representing the face of retail.

2007: Mary Queen of Shops (BBC2)

Breaking into mainstream television, Mary applied her experience at Harvey Nichols to her show, Mary Queen of Shops. In her documentary, she took failing boutiques and turned them into thriving stores, increasing their retail sales. Referenced throughout her speeches as a business speaker, Mary’s show highlighted how customer satisfaction is at the core of retail success. Her programme received rave reviews and was even nominated for a BAFTA and two Royal Television Society Awards.

2009: Mary Queen of Charity Shops (BBC2)

After noticing the decline in UK charity shops, Mary dedicated a documentary, Mary Queen of Charity Shops, to showcase their improvement. The Global Retail Ambassador for Save the Children, a charity that raises money for disadvantaged children, noticed that some of their stores were underperforming, so she decided to do something about it. Living and Giving, Mary’s answer to the charity shop crisis, employed a new design, format and approach to such stores, most notable for their eccentric decor. Since her documentary, Mary’s stores have raised over £10 million for Save the Children.

2011: Mary Portas: Secret Shopper (Channel 4)

Moving away from major department stores, Mary focused her attention on the humble high street in her documentary, Mary Portas: Secret Shopper. On the side of the public, she revealed the tricks of the trade that secure sales, but leave a dishonest taste in the buyer’s mouth. Going undercover, Mary discovered the questionable actions of estate agents and retail sellers, giving the public an insight into the industry. The fearsome presenter leaves no stone unturned, calling out some of the shadiest figures on the high street for their behaviour. Put under the spotlight, viewers were left shocked by her findings.

2011: Mary Queen of Frocks (Channel 4)

As a keynote speaker, Mary explores her knowledge of consumer research, derived from her extensive customer database, to share her expertise at retail events. She combined this understanding with her personal experience, to present a show that targets the “lost generation”. With a belief that older women weren’t being represented on the high street, Mary created a store specifically for that target audience, providing clothes, accessories and shoes for “women, not girls”. She documented the highs and lows in Mary Queen of Frocks, which was met with critical and commercial acclaim.

2012: Mary’s Bottom Line (Channel 4)

As she continued to correct the wrongs in the world of retail, Mary turned her attention to the manufacturing industry for her next show. Britain’s hosiery industry used to be booming, but in recent years countless factories have been shut down. Mary’s response? Reopening a factory in Manchester, through a documentary named Mary’s Bottom Line. Not only did she provide job opportunities for potential talents, but she produced underwear to compete against big names on ASOS and Liberty. The eye-opening, three-part series created the brand Kinky Knickers, and highlighted the state of the British high street.

2013: Mary Queen of the Highstreets (Channel 4)

After building a respectable name as a retail expert, Mary was commissioned by the British Government in 2011, to complete an independent study of the British high street. She delivered the results to David Cameron, which included predictions for the high street’s future, named The Portas Review. With extensive support from both retailers and the public alike, Mary’s findings triggered mass community regeneration, as more people than ever took to the high street. In her documentary, Mary Queen of the Highstreets, the winning method was revealed to be a focus on local people.

2015: What Britain Bought In… (Channel 4)

Released annually since 2015, Mary believes that the purchasing trends in the UK say a lot about the year we had. From makeup to camping, her documentary, What Britain Bought In…, investigates the standout successes and disappointing failures of our high street. The show gives viewers an insight into how environmental factors, like the death of a celebrity or a sporting event, can drastically alter the outcome of consumer trends. Mary also makes her predictions for the year to come, forecasting the popular products of the next 12 months.

2016: What Britain Buys (Channel 4)

With her previous show proving to be a fan favourite, Mary released What Britain Buys, a documentary exploring consumer trends on a whole, not just over the last year. Her show highlighted what our consumer habits say about the British people, from the methods we use to make payments to the developing tech trends. With two decades of retail experience, Mary presents an insight into all stages of the purchasing process, from the view of both the seller and the buyer.

Hear about the tricks of the trade from an industry retail expert, by booking Mary Portas for your private function or industry event. With her decades of experience and charismatic, passionate presenting style, she is an unmissable addition to any occasion.

To book retail speaker Mary Portas for your next event, contact one of our helpful booking agents by calling 0207 1010 553. Alternatively, you can fill out our online contact form, and a representative will get back to you with more information.