Convenience Leadership Programme

Key information

Start date: 11 March 2021

Attendance dates:

March 2021: 11, 24, 25
April 2021: 12, 13, 20
May 2021: 11
June 2021: 07, 08, 15
July 2021: 06


Online / Surrey Business School, University of Surrey / London and Midlands

Contact details:

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.

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.

"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

Learning outcomes

Students successfully completing the course 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.

Course content

Session 1: Introduction to the programme

Session 2: Analysing the factors affecting the convenience sector

  • How is the convenience sector impacted by demographics, technology politics, economics and society?
  • What does ethical retailing mean, and why does it matter?

Session 3: Personal and professional development

  • How can we manage competing business pressures?
  • How can best communicate with others? How to best have a difficult conversation?
  • How can we network, influence and present your best self?

Session 4: Making attractive value propositions

  • 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?

Session 5 and 6 : ACS Summit

  • Participation in ACS summit
  • Reflection session on the summit, what does it mean to my business?

Session 7: Data and decision making in the convenience sector

  • What data sources are available to support decision making in convenience retailing?
  • How can this data be integrated into the decision making

Session 8: Innovation thinking and supply chain management

  • How different kind of companies innovate?
  • How can innovations be managed how can organisations be more agile?
  • 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?

Session 9: Store and customer management

  • What’s the future of store design and layout?
  • How can data help us to control stores and grow sales?
  • How do we getting stock levels, inventory, health and safety, security and systems right?
  • How do we find, develop, keep and inspire our colleagues?

Session 10 and 11: ACS Store Tour

Session 12 and 13:  ACS Study Tour /  Presentation of final projects and graduation

Learning and teaching methods

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 course has both 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).

Research project

The research 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.

Entry requirements

Experience in the convenience retailing sector.

Fees and funding

Price per person:


Premier Club and Retail Members


ACS Club or Connect Members



What these fees include

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

Funding opportunities

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.

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

Please contact Sabine Benoit or Mark Simmons (Executive Education Coordinator) to register your interest.

Apply now

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.