ARLA Propertymark has picked a fascinating but controversial figure to give the keynote speech at the organisation’s annual conference and exhibition at the ExCel centre in Docklands on 24th March – Mary Portas.
The ‘Queen of Shops’, who has carved out a career giving advice on how to save the UK’s high streets and a TV career in programmes such as Secret Shopper, Mary Queen of Frocks and Mary Queen of the High Street, is to speak.
In 2011 her Secret Shopper series included an episode devoted to estate agents, focussing on North London agency Martyn Gerrard.
During the programme she promised to ‘start a revolution in the world of estate agents’ and ‘launch an estate agency based on honesty and expertise’.
‘Buying a house is the most important purchase of one’s life, but Mary thinks estate agents have been letting us down’, the Channel 4 programme blurb promised, while a trailer for the show said estate agents were the people the ‘public love to hate’.
During the episdoe Portas tried to get the Martyn Gerrard sales team to convince their customers they ‘were honest people’, although the show was criticised for being ‘a circus’.
Portas also spent several days conducting undercover filming during property viewings by several agents including Currell, Sovereign House and Alan Harvey.
This should all give her ammunition for her words of wisdom at the ARLA event.
Portas is sharing the stage with half a dozen other speakers including Lucy King from Winkworth, Nick Samuel from Samuel Estates, Glynis Frew from Hunters, Ben Beadle from the National Residential Landlords Association and David Cox and Phil Keddie from ARLA.