There are many career routes that you can enter in the retail industry, the job profiles on this page are a useful place to start.

If you are interested in working in an operational role such as finance, marketing, human resources, IT and logistics, you can find more detailed information in our other sector pages.

The retail market is affected by consumer and client demand and as such opportunities in this sector are affected by the economic climate. Despite this there are still a variety of companies who offer graduate schemes.

Getting in and getting experience

Working in retail you need to have strong customer focus as well as have developed good commercial awareness. Strong leadership, communication and interpersonal skills are also important to succeed in this area. Good risk assessment and negotiation skills are vital when working in this competitive and demanding marketplace.

The industry sometimes demands long and unsociable working hours, so you need to have drive and motivation. If you are looking to work in buying and merchandising there maybe considerable travel, so having a degree of flexibility is essential.

Getting work experience via part-time jobs and possibly internships will help you develop your skills and employability. Volunteering, for instance in charity shops, may help with your future applications and enhance your CV.

Visit company websites to see if they have formal work experience schemes or make speculative applications to your local branch.

Some key players in the sector include: Aldi, Boots, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Next, Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Tesco, ASDA George and TK Maxx (owned by TJX). If you are looking to work in sportswear, many well known brands such as Umbro (Cheadle), Henri Lloyd (Salford) and Adidas (Stockport) are based in North West. Fashion retail brands supplying the High Street include Vicky Martin (Manchester) and Ringspun (Manchester), so you don't have to move to London to have a career in fashion and retail.

For more information about roles and opportunities: