Suffolk department store gets revamp courtesy of Channel 4’s Mary Portas: Secret Shopper last night

Mary Portas Secret Shopper: Series 2 Episode 2 - Godfreys. Mary Portas with directors Laura Willimot

Mary Portas Secret Shopper: Series 2 Episode 2 - Godfreys. Mary Portas with directors Laura Willimott and David Spooner. - Credit: Dave King

Retail guru Mary Portas cracked the whip on a Suffolk department store as the firm attempted to transform its fortunes on national television last night.

Family-run shop Godfreys, in Lowestoft, was revamped by the high street hotshot on Channel 4’s Mary Portas: Secret Shopper, last night at 8pm.

The show used undercover footage to reveal where the business could learn some valuable lessons in customer service, and how less is more when it came to displaying its stock.

Described as her “biggest challenge yet”, Mary Portas arrived to discover shoppers deserting Godfreys, leaving bosses struggling to balance the books.

With the shop’s front windows blocked up, customers were even forced to use a back alley to get in – and once inside, were met with an overwhelming array of products.


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During last night’s episode, the host revealed her big ideas for Godfreys.

Determined to turn the staff into product experts, she organised a trip to Spitalfields Market.

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She devised a customer service test to try and give the team the confidence and knowledge they need, hoping her enthusiasm would rub off.

With her brother David, company director Laura Willimott recently took on shared management duties from stepfather, Jim.

She said: “Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell you where you’re going wrong. It’s a bit like walking around your own house – you become blinkered.

“The store was tired and the staff were slightly disillusioned.

“Mary Portas is certainly a force to be reckoned with. She came in and shook us up – not only telling us what we were doing wrong, but also what we were doing right. It was a very positive experience.

“In the past we tried to stock everything we could. We should have been offering a shopping experience that people couldn’t find online.

“We have completely turned around. Mary knows what she is talking about and we were sorry to see her go.”

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