Working in retail with A levels (or similar)

Once you have gained experience in selling and product knowledge, you could supervise a team of retail assistants or customer service advisers.

You could work as an assistant manager, helping to run a department or a small branch. You could work as a senior retail assistant, with more knowledge of the products that you sell. Some roles are off the shop floor, such as merchandising or buying.

Case study

Working at a supermarket

Like most things, the more you put in, the more you get out...

Harrison Muyeji, supervisor/shift leader at a leading supermarket

Example jobs

Fresh produce manager
Keeping the retail area stocked and well-presented to meet sales targets.

Merchandising assistant
Ensuring that stock appears in the right store at the right times, forecasting and analysing sales.

Visual merchandiser
Creating displays inside the shop and in shop windows.

Beauty consultant
Advising on, demonstrating and selling cosmetics.

Builders merchant assistant
Advising on and selling building products to trade customers and the general public.

Senior sales assistant
Providing full support to the retail manager, promoting brands, customer satisfaction, working to maximise all sales opportunities, supervising and possibly training junior staff.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Pay depends on the size of the store. Staff and managers may get sales-related bonuses. Staff may get a discount in the store.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

Things you may need to know:

  • Work is generally fast-paced, especially during busy times.
  • You will mainly be working on your feet and some jobs may be outdoors.
  • You may need to wear a uniform or protective clothing.

Qualifications needed

Qualifications or experience from elsewhere, such as hair and beauty, IT or construction, could help you into retail work.

With some experience in a sales-related job or retail job, you could become a supervisor or assistant manager. You could manage a team or a small store or branch.

Career path

You can move into store management. Many retailers like to promote their own staff to senior positions. You may need to study for a business-related or management qualification. You could move into a head office role where you can also be promoted.

Useful links

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Institute of Grocery Distribution

Builders Merchants Federation