Short courses

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Convenience Leadership Programme


Why choose this course

This course is the first convenience-specific programme of its kind and has been designed for area managers, buying teams, independent retailers, sales and market research specialists, and consultants. This will be delivered in partnership with the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), a bold statement of how much we believe in the industry and the people who work in it, whether in stores, in larger retailers and wholesalers, or with our colleagues in the supplier community.

Download course brochure (PDF)

What you will study

  • Understand of what’s changing in convenience retailing, and why.
  • You’ll learn the skills to make and implement effective decisions in this industry, and acquire a great network of like-minded people and senior mentors.
  • Doing this course will help you move ahead your business and your career!

Course details

Students successfully completing the programme will have:

  • A solid strategic and practical knowledge of convenience retailing
  • Knowledge of the portfolio and activities from the ACS
  • Gained a network of like-minded people within the sector.

Final project

The final project and report summarising the results of the project shall cover one particular topic in convenience retailing in-depth. It can be proposed by your employer funding the course or yourself. The report will enhance your convenience retailing-related knowledge and deliver insights to your employer and the sector.

All the projects are presented at the end of the module, which will also enable the participants to practice their presentation skills and enhance the knowledge of the entire group through the insights generated in the final projects. The final reports will have to be finalised in the phase from April to June and will be supervised by staff from Surrey Business School.


This course is taught by academic staff from the Department of Marketing and Retail Management.

Course structure

Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. 

  • How is the convenience sector impacted by demographics, technology politics, economics and society?
  • What does ethical retailing mean, and why does it matter?
  • What are the key market trends, and how are the needs of the convenience consumer changing?
  • How can we decide on the right offer for a convenience store, and how do we evolve it in line with our customers?
  • How do we make decisions on pricing and national, local and in-store marketing?
  • What is great service and how do we deliver customer satisfaction?
  • How do we engage customers face to face and in a changing media landscape?
  • How is our supply chain and the way we source products changing?
  • How do we manage the supply of products and services into stores?
  • What do good relationships with suppliers look like, and how do we get the right outcome from negotiating?
  • How do we run efficient and consistent operations?
  • How can data help us to control stores and grow sales?
  • What is productivity in a convenience store, and how do we optimise it?
  • What are the new innovations and trends in retail technology?
  • How do we manage and deliver innovation in convenience stores?
  • Participation in ACS summit
  • Reflection session on the content
  • What’s the future of store design and layout?
  • How do we turn idea into reality: getting stock levels, inventory, health and safety, security and systems right?
  • What are the key principles of property, site and facilities management?
  • How to we find, develop, keep and inspire our colleagues?
  • How can we manage competing business pressures?
  • How can we strike a work-life balance?
  • Where does technology fit into our working life?
  • How can we network, influence and present your best self?
  • Where can your convenience career take you?
  • Presentation of final projects
  • Graduation ceremony
  • Participation in ACS study tour


This is an applied, evidenced-based course that aims to be directly relevant to business decisions in convenience retailing, but also has a sound  basis in academic or practical evidence. The modules will usually have a theory and a practical component. The course structure is aligned with various ACS activities and embeds them into the curriculum.


The assessment has two components:

  • Attendance and active participation in modules.
  • Conducting a consultancy or research project and compose a final report.

At the end of the course, you will receive a graduation certificate (dependent on if you have passed your assessments).

Entry requirements

We accept applicants with a wide range of educational and business experience to study. There is no need for a previous degree in the higher education sector, but experience in the convenience retailing sector.

Fees and funding


This programme is offered in partnership with the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), UK. ACS members will receive a discounted tuition fee.

  • Non-member - £7,500
  • ACS Club or Connect Members - £4,995
  • Premier Club and Retail Members - £3,495

The fees include all teaching activities and materials, refreshments during class, lunch and entry fees for events, but exclude accommodation and food at events.

Please note, participants signing up until 18 October 2019 will receive a five per cent discount on their tuition fee.


Depending on the number and composition of participants we might be able to offer partial scholarships to exceptionally talented individuals. Please contact Professor Sabine Benoit for further information.

How to apply

We aim for a cohort of like-minded individuals with expertise and interest in convenience retailing. Some heterogeneity of backgrounds in the group will make the learning journey more valuable, too much can potentially be a hurdle. Therefore, to give you an excellent experience we would like to learn about your background and motivations.

To apply, please send your CV and a cover letter by email to Professor Sabine Benoit.

Your cover letter should include:

  • Why you want to study this course.
  • What your prior expertise or relation to convenience retailing is.
  • Your ACS membership status.


Applications can be made up to one month before the start of the course. However, the group size is limited so that we recommend to apply early to avoid any disappointment.

Contact us

For all enquiries, please contact Professor Sabine Benoit.


"This course will give a better understanding of the future of our sector to the leaders of the future. It’s a great opportunity for managers in retail, wholesale and supplier businesses to see the bigger picture of technological and consumer trends that will shape our industry, while keeping a tight focus on the realities of convenience retailing and how to drive success here and now."

Andy Cresswell, Chief Retail Officer, Bestway