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Graduates know where to go for retail therapy

Published: Thursday, 20 January 2005   Category: Food and drink | Retail

Sainsbury's AFTER a year of boardroom departures, IT problems and plummeting profits, Sainsbury's must have been hoping that the pre-Christmas shopping rush would bring some festive cheer to its business, unfortunately, along with many other retailers, it was disappointed.

Once the UK's leading supermarket chain, Sainsbury's has lost out to fierce price-cutting by its competitors and in trading terms is now ranked only third where its 15 per cent market share is little more than half that of Tesco, the market leader. Despite these difficulties, Sainsbury's remains a firm favourite with Britain's graduates and it is the top-rated supermarket in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers for the second year running.

This is no mean feat given that just 4 per cent of university finalists in 2004 said that they wanted to work in retail management. Some of Sainsbury's appeal on campus stems from a refreshingly open approach to its recruitment marketing. There is no attempt to hide the fact that the company is undergoing a massive programme of change and that new graduates will be expected to play a key part in transforming the business.

As you might expect, graduates joining Sainsbury's retail management scheme are mainly trained in-store, completing a series of placements which are supported by a number of management skills courses, workshops and other events. Placements quickly progress from a junior support role to departmental manager, taking responsibility for running a major product area within a store. During the second year of the programme graduates can progress to duty managers or even store managers. Graduates opting for one of the specialist retail support schemes such as buying, finance, or product quality and development are likely to be based in Sainsbury's state-of-the-art headquarters at Holborn in London, or at one of the supply chain centres around the UK.

SAINSBURY'S What does it do?
Sainsbury's is one of Britain's biggest and best-known retailers, with more than 600 supermarkets and convenience stores in the UK and Ireland and nearly 150,000 staff. Offers banking, mobile phone, energy and home delivery services.

What does it employ graduates for?
There will be about 150 vacancies this year in retail management, buying, finance, supply chain, product quality and development, human resources and marketing.

Where are the graduate jobs?
Nationwide.

What will it pay this year?
£21,700 plus benefits.

What's the competition like?
Last year, 9,800 applied for 150 vacancies.

Martin Birchall is editor of The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers

Source:  MARTIN BIRCHALL www.timesonline.co.uk  

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