Mary, queen of street markets

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The Independent Online

Mary Portas, self-styled Queen of Shops, thinks she has found the secret to saving Britain's struggling high streets: markets.

The businesswoman and TV presenter will tell ministers this week that a National Market Day is needed to promote street stalls of every kind, because they will attract shoppers to town centres.

"There's a market for all of us," she will say in her government review. "From a bustling 'roll up, roll up' veggie market to a thriving organic middle-class farmers' market. I believe markets can serve as fundamental traffic drivers back to our high streets."

It should be made easier for people to sell in high street markets, she says, while also calling for fewer regulations covering where markets can be held.

Nationwide, 14 per cent of shops now stand empty, but in 74 areas more than a quarter are vacant, according to the Local Data Company.