29 March, 2016

Retail from every angle

If you’re keen to see retail in all its glory, M&S is the place to be. Ali was selected for our graduate programme but instead took a Sales Advisor role. Since then, we’ve supported her development by allowing her to change roles frequently and giving her exposure to all parts of the business, from Finance to Food, Clothing to Hospitality. Ali’s career has taken her from our stores to field roles to head office. So what keeps her here?

“If I was asked, ‘what are the best three things about working for M&S?’ I would have the say, the people, the people and the people! I feel privileged to have worked with such a fabulous bunch of colleagues over the years – people who are proud to be associated with the M&S brand and live its values to the full. And many of them have been with us for as long as I have.”

In her present role, Ali is responsible for the retail operations side of our Café business.

“I visit our stores and see the tremendous work people in our Cafés do to keep our customers happy. There is some real talent helping to shape the direction of our Hospitality business. The pace is always fast in our Cafés. Customers come in for some refreshment and then want to be on their way. That suits me. I’m a bit of foodie, so I’m in the right environment, but I’m also the kind of person who likes to get things done. It’s hard work, and you have to be able to perform as part of a team, but it’s also really enjoyable.”

M&S colleagues in our Cafés regularly get together for a variety of social events and they also show their caring side. Our Cafés have a special partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and many of our people have thrown themselves into a host of fundraising activities. 

“I’ve been so proud of how much we’ve achieved with Macmillan over the past couple of years,” says Ali. “But as well as supporting their vital work, it’s also given me one of my most memorable M&S moments: preparing many of our senior managers to win a Tug of War competition in aid of the charity!”

So what’s does Ali get up to outside work? “Spending time with my family comes first, but I also play the double bass. And I always make time to enjoy my favourite M&S product… the scrumptious fruit scone with clotted cream and jam from our Café, you can’t beat it!”

Inside M&S