Department stores tend to be run by big companies, with branches in most leading cities or towns. The profits are high and so are the stakes, which is why at the managerial level your adrenalin will be pumping.
From a career point of view, getting department store experience will set you up for life. Shopping, rather like eating out, has become a national pastime so any skills honed in a national store will always be in demand.
To excel in management, you've got to know who your best customers are. For instance, baby boomer consumers have more money at their disposal than any other age group. Those aged 35-54 generally earn more money and have accumulated more wealth than those younger than them and are more likely to be in employment still, unlike many older customers. Meanwhile, although look-and-feel goods such as fashion and food have robust sales, goods that can be downloaded or bought over the internet are being hit by online purchasing, making them a particular management challenge.
The UK has some of the most famous department stores in the world, particularly in London, Leeds, Edinburgh and Manchester. And if you're still working your way up the career ladder, you can comfort yourself with the fact that these powerful companies have the same drive and resources to retain staff as any conglomerate. Once you're in, they will invest in your training and development and try to harness your talent with perks and benefits.
The range of jobs is endless, from sales assistants through to department managers, visual merchandisers, designers, technologists, buyers and right up to the heady heights of regional manager where you look after a number of stores.
Whatever role you are seeking, working in a department store is a bit like going on a stage where you create magic for the shopper. Look out for the many companies that pride themselves on creating a happy, warm atmosphere for employees and customers alike -- and where you can get a buzz out of handling all that wonderful merchandise.
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