Retail Operations (Head Office)

The Retail Operations team at our Head Office in Paddington, London provides the crucial support that enables our stores to run efficiently and profitably, with customer needs front of mind. Everything from profitable trading to finding innovative ways to provide customers with even better service is on the team’s radar.

It’s a fascinating and fast-paced environment. On this one-year, rotational programme you’ll gain exposure to all aspects of Retail Operations. It’s important to appreciate how we impact our stores – so your first three months will be spent in a store. There, you will complete a condensed version of our Retail Management Programme [Link] to see how our stores are run and understand their relationship with Head Office.

For the remainder of the programme, you’ll move back to Paddington where you’ll spend a month in a number of different departments. You’ll get to know how we trade and operate in both Food and Clothing & Home, as well as immersing yourself areas such as retail services, planning resources, store communications and stock loss prevention. If you do well, a year later you well could be moving into a full-time role.

We look for those who are commercially focused and analytically minded, who can work their way logically through processes. We’re self-starters with lots of energy and a sense of urgency to make things happen. Above all, we’re passionate about doing things better and finding new ways to delight M&S customers. If you’ve studied a Business Management degree, or have experience in retail or a related industry, Retail Operations could be the ideal niche for you.

Applications for this role are now closed.

Key Information

  • Location


  • Duration

    12 months training

  • Salary

    £Highly competitive

Career questions?

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Learning and Development

Experience is the best teacher, which is why M&S likes to throw you in at the deep end. Real responsibilities on real projects, from day one (no, really). But the learnings aren't just one way: we're eager to hear your fresh ideas, to have our ways challenged, in order to grow the business. Of course, it all starts with a comprehensive introduction to M&S. You're never on your own with us. During this time, you'll get a basic overview of our business, along with all the information you need about your new role and life with one of the nation's brightest brands.

Applying to join M&S

  • Online application

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    Stage one: online application and testing

    You'll need to apply online - where you'll take some online screening tests, after which there follows a short period of suspense. This is where your application rises to the top of our review pile. As soon as we can, we'll be in touch to let you know whether you've successfully made it through to the next stage of your journey.

    Be sure to check each programme page for specific closing dates as they may vary. If you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait another year before you can apply again.

    Here are a few tips. On your application form, be sure you include all your work experience and clearly state how it relates to the role you are applying for – or what skills you learned in that job which you can bring to our programme. In the online testing, everyone completes a personality questionnaire and takes a situational judgement test. Then you’ll be challenged to show your verbal, numerical or inductive skills, depending on the scheme you’re applying for. It’s a good idea to practise online tests before attempting the real ones – you can easily find some online. Make sure you take the tests in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

  • Come to an assessment centre

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    Stage two: come to an assessment centre

    If we like what we see online, we'll ask to see you in person. You'll then be invited to a day of group exercises, presentations and an interview. Not easy, but not as scary as it sounds. In Retail, assessment centres will take place in January, February or March 2018, although some Head Office schemes will hold theirs in December 2017. There are plenty of tips on other pages to help you perform at your best.

  • Receive an offer

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    Stage three: receive an offer

    If all goes well and there's a place for you on one of our schemes, we'll let you know by the end of March. All in all, it's a simple process: just hold on to those 'if only' thoughts and do your best to impress at every stage. M&S has roles waiting for you. Yes, you could make it happen.

  • Start with us

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    Stage four: start with us

    This is the moment you've been waiting for. Your first day! Head Office Business Placements start in July but Retail Management and HR begin in September. For Graduates, all Head Office roles start in September with Retail Management having various intake dates across July and September.

    Applications for our business placement and graduate programmes for 2018 are now open.