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Retail, Sales & Purchasing

Retail, Sales & Purchasing


Sales executives maximise the sales of a company's goods or services in many different settings. Their role helps to ensure the commercial success of a diverse range of companies in UK and overseas markets. This can involve working with high-profile brands and products.

They are also involved with identifying new markets and business opportunities.

Sales executives are responsible for increasing and developing sales in areas including:

  • fast moving consumer goods, or FMCGs (such as food and stationery);
  • consumer durables (clothes, domestic equipment and toys);
  • industrial supplies;
  • IT, software and media;
  • services (such as print and financial services).

Many sales executives complete the professional education programme offered by the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM)

Within most companies, there is a promotion structure that involves moving up from area sales manager to regional sales manager and ultimately to sales director. Promotion is usually based on results. Rapid progress and early promotion are common. Some graduates gain experience in domestic sales and then move into export sales work.

A wide variety of companies across all sectors require sales executives to broaden the demand for their brand, product or service.

Sectors include:

  • fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as food and drink
  • technical such as automotive IT, electronics, construction
  • media such as radio, television and new media
  • pharmaceuticals
  • financial

Graduates are taken into this area from a variety of degrees but will generally be expected to have good commercial awareness, posses excellent communication skills and be able to work effectively to meet targets and expectations.

Job vacancies in Retail, Sales & Purchasing

Useful links:

The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM)

The Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP)

Skillsmart Retail: The Sector Skills Council for Retail