IT’S OK a retail expert calling for charity shops to be restricted, but is Mary Portas living in the real world like the rest of us?
The so-called Queen Of Shops has come up with a plan to revive ailing high streets and believes there should be a cap on the number of charity shops.
But are charity shops the cause or the symptom?
They are there because people shop in them. If they didn’t, they’d close.
The wider question has to be why shops are struggling to survive.
No doubt it’s a combination of issues such as high business rates and people with far less disposable income than they’ve had in recent years – much of it on credit in the past which is now so much harder to come by.
Then there is the lure and power of the internet with people preferring to shop online rather than having to fork out on bus fares or petrol to get to town and then paying even more to park.
After all, you can browse on the internet to your heart’s content in comfort at home.
Shops also struggle from theft and our Truelove On Crime column in today’s paper highlights the toll retail crime takes on our high streets.
So it’s a complex problem which will need innovative solutions that involve thinking ‘out of the box.’
Simply pointing at charity shops and saying their number should be reduced seems to be a far too simplistic solution.