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Pullan & Sons

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Retail, Sales & Purchasing

Retail, Sales & Purchasing


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Compared with the national picture, there is a high proportion of employment in this region within the wholesale and retail trade. The range of retail organisations is diverse and future growth in opportunities is set to continue, one example being the increase in retail parks in addition to city centre shopping.  However, it should be remembered that retail as a sector can be particularly sensitive to changes in the economic climate.  Alongside retail itself, there are also options to work within organisations promoting consumer rights.

In the last decade, £430 million has been invested in Leeds city centre to enhance its shopping and leisure facilities and a further £500 million is proposed to increase the retail space in the city centre by 50%. This investment has included major store expansions by HMV, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser. Huddersfield is second only to Leeds for retail spend in West Yorkshire, while a proposed £95 million development at Wakefield Waterfront, will include provision for retail units to supplement the existing three retail parks in Wakefield.

South Yorkshire is the principal commercial centre for South Yorkshire and is home to Meadowhall, covering 2,000 acres near the M1, with 270 stores, employing 300 full and part-time employees (with more at peak seasons). The plans for a new retail quarter in Sheffield (‘Sevenstone') will see £500 million invested by 2012 to create 1 million square feet of retail floorspace in the city centre as part of its regeneration programme, including a new flagship John Lewis store.  Further development to revamp The Moor and Orchard Square will also increase Sheffield's retail area.  In addition Yorkshire Forward's £380 million Remaking Barnsley regeneration programme puts retail firmly at the centre of the developments with the improvements to the renowned Barnsley Markets included in the scheme.

In Hull, £20 million will be invested in substantial regeneration plans to meet increasing demands for new retail and create some 3,100 retail and leisure jobs. These include the St Stephens scheme on Ferensway, a major expansion to Princes Quay, while Quay West a new retail-led, mixed-use quarter will provide the gateway to the City Centre with 50,000 square metres of floor area for retail and related leisure. Humber Quays is a new flagship scheme aimed at re-uniting the City Centre with its splendid River Humber waterfront and along with developments at River Hull, East Bank and Blayde's Dock, will also provide new retail space.

The market towns of the region are also important retail centres, and this has been recognised in the Rural Renaissance Market Towns initiative, Yorkshire Forward's ten year plan to support sustainable small towns in Yorkshire.  Smaller towns such as Ripon, Skipton, Beverley, Thirsk and Northallerton are important market towns which are attracting further retail investment.

In general, the type and size of employer varies. Head offices of some of the larger graduate recruiters such as Asda and Comet, are located within Yorkshire and Humber. Many other graduate training programmes have store placements in the region although mobility is often required. However there is a greater proportion of people employed in small (1-10) and medium sized (11-49) retail businesses.

If you're looking to enter a job in retail, you'll need to be a good all rounder with strong communication and organisational skills as well as the ability to work with a variety of people. Previous experience in a retail environment can improve your prospects and show you have an understanding of the industry from the ground. Also, some proven leadership skills in a working environment or for a sports team or University society can make you more attractive to employers.

Job vacancies in Retail, Sales & Purchasing

Useful links:

Renaissance Market Town Initiative (RMT)

As one of Yorkshire Forward's flagship projects, RMT aims to ensure that the region's 'rural capitals' are places where people want to and are able to live, work, invest and visit.

Office of Fair Trading

Ensuring that consumers' rights are protected and businesses operate fairly.

Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG)

This is an industry body for e-retailers in the UK, offering research and news on direct and mail order selling.

Direct Selling Association (DSA)

The DSA is a trade association for operators within the direct selling and home shopping sectors, which provides a code of practice for its members and advice and guidance on relevant legislation.

Consumer Direct

This organisation provides information for consumers and retailers on all aspects of consumer rights and law in the UK.