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Retail & Sales careers

Retail: Supermarkets

The supermarket industry explained...

When you think of supermarkets, you might think of low paid jobs, such as stacking shelves, manning tills or collecting trolleys. However, the reality is that this is just one very small segment of the supermarket industry. Supermarket retail is one of the largest and most diverse subsectors around.

Just to put things in perspective: Tesco is the market leader in the supermarket industry and it produced pre-tax profits of £1.6 billion for the first half of 2010. One thousand six hundred million at the half-way point? That is gargantuan!

What are the necessary skills for a career in the supermarket industry?

Many of the careers available in this area are customer facing and will require good interpersonal skills and communication. There’s also lots of scope for individuals with other talents, such as creativity, logic and organisational skills. Wherever your strengths lie, it is likely that you will be able to find somewhere to utilise them within this industry.

Most of all, supermarkets require individuals that have a passion for retail and a good understanding of the consumer.

What additional roles are part of the supermarket industry?

Supermarkets employ huge numbers of people, and not just the staff members you see on your weekly shop, but also marketing teams, psychologists and dietitians – not to mention the army of people involved in the logistics operations that get goods to the stores. Furthermore, supermarkets offer all kinds of specialist retail careers, from visual merchandising and buying to store management.

Supermarkets compete with one another to encourage consumers to buy as many of their goods as frequently as possible. This involves sourcing quality produce, getting it to the stores across the UK, creating a comfortable shopping experience, offering consumers value for money and attracting them through advertising and marketing campaigns.

Each stage of this process requires an array of people to oversee, plan and execute these steps. Working in this subsector gives you an almost unparalleled opportunity to progress your career and you will be working for some of the world’s largest companies.

With such a wealth of opportunity (and money!) available in the supermarket subsector, 'aisle' tell you for free that it's definitely a career path to consider!