Retail veteran: policy failures killed the high street

Bill Grimsey, the former chief executive of the defunct DIY chain Focus, has said the high street is "as good as dead already" and lambasted the review of sector by the retail expert Mary Portas as "all a waste of money and resources".

In his book Sold Out, he says the policy failures of successive governments, the "toxic" leverage of private equity deals, unrealistic retail landlords and online shopping have contributed to the "terminal disease" that is afflicting many local shopping environments. Instead of trying to revive town centres, the former Wickes, Iceland Foods and Focus executive says the Government should concentrate on initiatives that lead to more "restaurants, cafes, or pedestrianised meeting areas".

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