Find out how you can start a career in retail. Here we list potential job roles and some of the leading companies in that sector.

Job roles

Introduction

There are many roles in retailing: store management, buying, merchandising, distribution, property, online retailing etc. Many retailers will expect graduates to begin their careers in store management before moving into head office functions such as buying – this gives a knowledge of the retailer, its products and customers that can only be gained through front-line experience. You can, of course, start to gain this experience as a student through part-time or vacation work in retail – see our Work Experience pages


Retail Merchandiser

TIPS: 

  • Get retail experience via part-time or vacation work.
  • Be aware of the market in your chosen area - read relevant publications, such as trade and/or consumer magazines for food, fashion, etc. 
  • Be prepared to enter merchandising via store management - it helps to know customer requirements from the sharp end! 
  • Some recruitment agencies specialise in this field of work.


Retail Manager 


TIPS: 

  • Experience in a shop is important through holiday work etc. 
  • Show an interest in the company/type of work you will be expected to do. 
  • Be prepared to start as a trainee.
  •  Companies generally recruit annually & are interested in people who have their feet on the ground.


Retail Buyer:


TIPS: 

Buying teams tend to be quite small and vacancies are very few and far between. Buying roles that do come up are often advertised internally first. Therefore, your best route in is often to get a job in store first.For more information see our purchasing careers page

  • Get retail experience via part-time or vacation work. 
  • Be aware of the market in your chosen area - read relevant publications, such as trade and/or consumer magazines for food, fashion, etc. 
  • Be prepared to enter buying via store management - it helps to know customer requirements from the sharp end! 
  • Some recruitment agencies specialise in the fashion industry, including buying.

Online retailing

There is a huge shift to online shopping and therefore an expansion of roles in e-commerce details roles such as digital marketing, web design, e-commerce technology. This is a rapidly developing career area and some retailers are recruiting graduate trainees specific to this sector. 
Prospects.ac.uk: How to get a job in online retail 2017
Targetjobs.co.uk: Retail ecommerce

Companies

  • Aldi
  • Amazon
  • ASDA Carries specific graduate recruitment information
  • The Body Shop
  • Boots
  • Dreams retailer of beds and mattresses with 200 bed superstores nationwide. 12 month management training programme for business graduates. Receive specific training in stock management, driving sales and motivating their teams.
  • Fenwick Graduate scheme and placement opportunities in Retail, Buying, HR and Project Management
  • Harrods
  • House of Fraser
  • John Lewis Partnership John Lewis and Waitrose operate separate graduate programmes
  • Lidl
  • Marks & Spencer graduate programmes, internships and placement in all apects of retailing
  • Morrisons
  • Next
  • River Island
  • Waterstones
  • Sainsbury's
  • Tesco
  • Three just one of the many retailers of digital technology
  • Wilko offer graduate programmes within four areas of business, including Online Marketing, Marketing Planning and Marketing Insight which cover the area of market research.

Find out more

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