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22 August 2007 PR 07/110

Waitrose renews sponsorship of Loughborough’s retail management degree

Premier food retailer Waitrose has renewed its sponsorship of Loughborough University Business School’s BSc (Hons) Retail Management degree, showing its continued support for the acclaimed programme.

The degree was the first of its kind to be launched back in 1991, in a collaborative effort between the Business School and a consortium of retailers. The renewed support from Waitrose means Loughborough’s programme is the only retail degree in the UK to have maintained continuous company sponsorship since its inception.

“We are delighted that Waitrose is sponsoring the retail degree,” says Programme Director Cathy Hart. “Waitrose delivers an exceptionally high standard of training and development for graduates, which provides an excellent fit with the profile of our retail degree. This results in a win-win outcome for both sides, and we look forward to developing the partnership further with Waitrose during the next 12 months.”

Although the programme has previously been sponsored by several leading UK retailers such as Sainsbury, C&A, Barclays and Wickes, Waitrose has been continuous in its support of the programme since 2000. In addition to providing student placement and graduate positions, the support includes guest lectures, talks and workshops by Waitrose managers, and student projects and fieldtrips to head office, stores and distribution centres.

Susie Barker, Graduate Recruitment Manager at Waitrose, comments: “As a major and progressive food retailer, our graduate recruitment strategy needs to provide our business with exemplary leaders who can shape our commercial future and enrich our people-focused culture. Graduates from Loughborough University Business School will be well prepared for such a career, and as such can assist us in moulding and developing our branches beyond their already successful base. We are delighted to be sponsoring the Retail Management degree and look forward to bettering the prosperous relationship that currently exists with Loughborough.”

Loughborough University’s continued success in national league tables is no surprise to students, staff or business partners who have witnessed the University’s expansion and consequent leap up the rankings in the last decade. Ranked second only to Cambridge for teaching for the last four years, Loughborough is indeed well placed to deliver the best in management education. Students also voted the University as the Best Student Experience in the 2006 Times Higher Education Supplement Awards, confirming the Loughborough environment as the best in the UK.

As well as outstanding teaching, Programme Director Cathy Hart and colleagues in the Marketing and Retailing Research Group conduct ground-breaking research into the retail industry. A recent study entitled ‘Buying into Retail’ – which was commissioned by Skillsmart Retail, the Sector Skills Council for retail – surprised many with its findings concerning the retail industry in the East Midlands.

“Contrary to previous opinion, the research showed that people working within retail are generally very positive about their jobs,” says Cathy. “It also confirmed that the retail industry has a shortage of and a great need for higher skilled managers. Working closely with retail partners is the best way for universities to prepare high calibre graduates for successful and challenging careers in the retail sector.”


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Notes for editors:

  1. Further details about the BSc (Hons) in Retail Management are available at http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/bs/ug/ret.html
  2. More information about the Marketing and Retailing Research Group can be found at http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/bs/research/rgmarrg.html
  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2006 National Student Survey, the University gained a top five place, with nine out of Loughborough’s 23 departments topping their subject tables. Loughborough was also placed 6th in the 2007 Times Good University Guide and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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