1 December, 2015

THE REWARDING ROAD OF RETAIL MANAGEMENT

During his third year doing Business Studies in Coventry, Tom Footitt took a business placement programme to get real experience leading people. After searching extensively online, Tom was attracted to M&S, so the head of his business course put him in touch with a store manager who’d been with the brand for 27 years. And the result? Tom is now one of our new and promising store managers.

“I spoke to some of my parents’ friends who’ve worked for M&S in the past, to get a better feel for what it would be like to work for the brand. After I finished my placement year, I went on to complete my degree before returning to a place on the graduate scheme at M&S. I was on the shop floor from day one.”

“The amazing thing is I’m 23 and I’m a store manager already. You’ve literally got the backing of a huge company and the opportunity to learn a lot very quickly. In retail management you can learn a skill-set in one area and then move on to another function within the store, where you learn other skills and develop different leadership qualities.”

“The most important thing is: you’ve got to be resilient, you’ve got to be able to battle through because you’re going to be put in challenging scenarios straight away. You need to be pro-active in your approach and realise it’s your career, it’s your placement year or graduate scheme, you’ve got to make as much of it as possible. It’s about getting out of bed every day and inspiring your team to deliver a top-tier performance for your brand. However stressed you may be feeling you need to make sure your team can rely on you to be a leader and a good manager, so they can do the best job.”

“The work culture is inspiring. It’s really about quality and being a team. You owe it to yourself and the people you work with to do a good job because you depend on one another. The people I work with are good fun, they’re engaging, they want to deliver and they want to be the best at what they do. I think they are representative of everything we stand for as a company.”

“I think the best thing is that at the end of every day, you go away reflecting on all the good work you’ve done and how you can do even better for yourself and your team next time. That process leads you to grow on so many levels and I’m grateful for having a job that makes me feel like every day I’m changing for the better.”

Inside M&S