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Mary Portas sets up retail training scheme

Fashion guru Mary Portas wants retailers to be better trained

Mary Portas, the women credited with turning around the fortunes of Harvey Nicks, has founded a retail training service.

Many large retailers, she points out, train their staff well but many of the smaller businesses go into operation with no training at all for either themselves or their personnel. 

Under her new scheme, staff learn skills such as how to display goods to maximum effect, size up a customer as soon as he or she walks through the door and provide a tailored service - leaving alone those who don't want to be disturbed while paying attention to those who need help. Being able to read body language, she says, is crucial.

Trained staff are apparently two and a half times more effective than untrained staff, so perhaps now is the time for retailers to actually invest in their personnel rather than laying people off. And since, as customers, we're all too familiar with the 'my name is Jeff and I haven't got a clue' school of shop assistant, so I say good luck to her.

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