A follow up visit to the town was prompted by Millom and District Traders’ Forum who are seeking assistance to help improve their businesses.

Following a visual review of the town on Monday 18th June (to help identify changes since his last visit in May 2011) The Shop Doctor will present a retail workshop aimed at helping retailers to identify how they can positively develop their impact on their customers, improve loyalty and attract new business.

Commenting on his previous visit he said: “Last time it was a holistic look at what I felt the town needed to brighten itself up. This time it is orientated towards the retailers, and making their businesses even better”

Mark Holroyd, South Copeland tourism officer said: “We’re delighted to invite Bill back to Millom to deliver another inspiring workshop for our businesses.

“South Copeland has great shops which deserve to do well. Bill’s workshop will help these businesses to grow.”

One of the businesses to benefit from Mr Smith’s advice last time around was the Toy Barn, in Bootle.

Joint owner, Rachel Fallows, said: “Bill gave us some valuable advice about the appearance of our shop last time he visited. As we’ve just launched our online shop I’m really interested in what he has to say about attracting customers to our website via the internet and social networking sites.”

Mr Smith added: “ Operating high street businesses continues to be extremely challenging and for many retailers business is actually harder now than they have experienced for a number of years.” He added  “Retailers can only put so much in for so long and  many  have already reduced staffing levels to minimum and have taken far less out of their businesses ( or indeed had to put resources in) over the last few years.

“There is a limit to how long many can survive. They need focused help, motivation and guidance, many have the skills but ensuring that they are applied effectively  is critical.”

The Shop Doctor believes that independent retailers help place a unique stamp on any trading environment, through the type of shops that they operate and reflecting their individual personalities, helping them to survive and develop is essential in maintaining towns with a distinct trading character.

The workshop takes place on June 18, in Millom Network Centre, in Salthouse Road, from 6pm. The course costs £5 per place and includes refreshments.

For more information contact Millom Network Centre on 01229 719650 or email

The Shop Doctor will be following up his recent work in Dumfries with a similar programme of masterclasses and ‘one to one’ shop visits in Annan and Stranraer following submission of a succesful tender to Dumfries & Galloway Council.

The Let’s Talk Shop programe commences in Annan on 26th June, and that for Stranraer later in the year. 

A return visit to Millom will also be taking place in response to requests for expert help from the Millom & District Business forum, which consists of town centre traders who meet monthly.

Following a review of the town an evening workshop presentation entitled ‘I’ve not shopped here before, but I’ll certainly be back.’ will challenge retailers to think about ways to make the shopping experience in Millom a memorable one for all the right reasons.

For further information about this event click here

In Cheshire East evaluation of the ‘Shopping Experience’ will be the focus of forthcoming visits by the Shop Doctor to Knutsford, Sandbach, Disley, Macclesfield, Alsager, Congleton and Middlewich and delivery of a further programme of retail masterclasses focusing on the findings of the Shopper Experience research and identifying ways to make  good experience even better.

More information will be posted about all of these exciting projects focussed on revitalising the retail economy of the  towns involved as it becomes available.

During a day spent in Millom on Thursday 19th May ‘The Shop Doctor’ met with a range of local retailers and assessed the impact of some of the important first impressions that faced visitors to the Town .

An evening Let’s Talk Shop workshop was attended by over 20 retailers who were given an insight into the initial findings of the day and received key pointers as to how they could take cost effective steps to help improve the impact of their individual businesses.

A report will be compiled to help Copeland Borough Council, who funded the days programme, identify keys issues that are felt to be impacting on retail vitality in the Town,

The meeting also saw opportunity to promote the ‘My Millom, proud to be’ initiative and to enthuse retailers to take advantage of £300 match funding available towards implementing improvements to their shop fronts.

Copeland Borough Council have recruited “The Shop Doctor” to assess issues within Millom that are impacting on the retail vitality of the shopping environment and identify routes to help reinvigorate trade in the Town.

Following a day spent reviewing the Town an evening retail masterclass will be used to highlight the challenges identified and detail ways that they can be addressed. 

Our ‘Shop Doctor’ has been dispensing specialised retail assistance to independent retail operators across the north west (and beyond) since 1998 and is presently working with a number of local councils delivering a range of projects to help reinvigorate High Streets across the north west.

Click here for more about Millom

TV Retail ‘Guru’ Mary Portas has today been asked by David Cameron to come up with a plan to help turn around the fortunes of our ailing High Streets.

Central to the review – ordered by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – is the worrying level of sales in town centres, which have dramatically under-performed other locations.

Government figures show that between 2005 and 2010, town-centre sales grew by a paltry 1.5%, while those in out of town shopping centres grew 11.5% and non-store (mail order and internet) soared by 71.5%.

As our ‘Shop Doctor’ knows only too well there will be no simple solutions as the picture across the country is extremely complex and compounded by a range of issues that range from the costs associated with operating on the High Street , the state of the local economy, customer demographic and how supermarkets and out of town retail activities interface with the towns themselves.

Underlying this is the poor condition of many of our High Street environments, parking charges and accessibility and the individual presentation of the shops within them – and then there are the challenges of the varying levels of customer service experiences and customer perception (or misperception) of what it actually costs to shop in the High Street.

Read more about this issue from Retail Gazette here

Copeland Borough Council have arranged for ‘The Shop Doctor’ to spend a day in May evaluating the retail scene in Millom as part of an excercise to help revitalise trading opportunities.

Following the day visiting the key retail areas The Shop Doctor will present an evening Masterclass detailing his thoughts about the visual impact that Millom retailers make on their customers, and recommending cost effective routes to develop business performance.