Convenience Leadership Programme

Key information

Start date:
13 March 2023
Attendance dates:

13, 14 March 2023

24, 25, 17 April 2023

15, 16 May 2023

13, 21 June 2023

11, 12 July 2023

Surrey Business School
Stag Hill campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

All dates are in person apart from the following online dates: 17 April, 13 June and 21 June. May also be held in London and the Midlands.

Contact details:

Why executive education in convenience?

Training prepares people for the job they do today, education prepares them for the job they want to do in future. Training and education are complementary and both vital to progress in one’s career. Being able to develop and grow in one’s job is one of the major factors for staff satisfaction and retention. If you are afraid your best people will leave, then help them grow inside your organisation so that they don’t even feel the need to consider moving.

Why at the University of Surrey? 

The University of Surrey has a solid tradition in retail research amongst them convenience retailing, particularly represented by Sabine Benoit, Professor of Marketing and Director of this programme. She has conducted research with many small and large retail and manufacturing organisations and has impacted their businesses positively. Her researcher covers for instance retail technology, unstaffed stores, future or forecourts, quick commerce and frictionless shopping. 

What is the role of the ACS? 

The programme will be delivered in partnership with the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), the association for convenience retailing in the UK. During the programme you will get to know various people form the ACS and attend ACS events and if you are not already become vital part of this supportive community of like-minded convenience retailers.

Who will benefit from this course? 

This course has been designed for area managers, buying teams, independent retailers, sales and market research specialists. To participate we only require experience in the convenience sector, a prior higher education is not necessary to take part.

What you will study

During the programme we will discuss a wide range of topics. 

  • You will understand what’s changing in retail convenience and why
  • You will gain the skills to make and implement effective decisions in this industry
  • You will acquire a great network of like-minded people
  • Doing this course will help you move ahead your career or your business.

We have really benefitted from sending colleagues on this course, giving them a broader perspective, insights from academic experts and industry leaders, and a network of like-minded future leaders. The content and delivery is excellent and I can recommend the Convenience Leadership Programme to anyone looking to progress in this industry.

Debbie Robinson, CEO at Central England Co-operative

Course content

Session 1: The convenience sector and its political and legal retail environment, societal and economic trends

  • What are relevant political and legal developments, such as HFSS, minimum wages and employment conditions?
  • What are relevant economics challenges does the sector face, such as inflation, energy costs or the labour market?
  • How are societal changes affecting the convenience sector, such as the ageing population or urbanisation?

Session 2am: 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?
  • What is great service and how do we deliver customer satisfaction?

Session 2pm: Personal and professional development

  • How can we identify how we are perceived or positioned in the workplace through the eyes of your employer
  • Which experience/skills are valued highest by the convenience sector?

Session 3am: Staff management

  • How do things change when moving up the career ladder into management positions?
  • How to hire and retain talents?
  • How to motivate employees to do their best?
  • How to give feedback most effectively?

Session 3pm: Personal and professional development

  • How can we improve the effectiveness of our collaboration within teams - as leaders and as colleagues?
  • How can best communicate with others?
  • How to best have a difficult conversation?

Session 4am: ACS Conference

  • Participation in ACS conference
  • Visit of the convenience trade fair at the NEC

Session 5: ACS Conference reflection

  • Reflection on takeaways from the ACS conference. What have we learned? What does this mean for my business?

Session 6am: Innovation management

  • How to create an organisational culture to stimulate innovation?
  • How do different kinds of companies innovate?
  • How can innovations be managed how can organisations be more agile?
  • How can large organisations think and act like start-ups?

Session 6pm: Retail technology in the convenience sector

  • What are the most important technology trends?
  • Best practices adopting technology in the convenience sector

Session 7: ACS Technology showcase

  • Participation in the ACS Technology showcase
  • Reflection on takeaways from the event. What have we learned? What does the information mean to the business?

Session 8: Shelf availability and retail losses

  • How can technology optimize shelf availability?
  • How to avoid food waste?
  • What are the different categories of retail losses?
  • How can stores grow sales and profits by reducing retail loss?

Session 9: Safety, security, and risk in the convenience sector

  • The state of crime in the UK convenience sector
  • How can theft and criminal behaviour be avoided?
  • How can staff safety be secured?

Session 10am: Store and customer management

  • What makes a store more valuable for customers?
  • The basics in store layout and competitive positioning
  • Fundamentals of assortment management
  • How to optimize pricing to increase profit?

Session 10pm: Decision making in the convenience sector

  • What information is available to support decision making?
  • When to use intuition and when not to use intuition?
  • Biases in decision making
  • What differentiates an opinion from facts?

Session 11: ACS Study Tour

Session 12: Social event and poster presentation and graduation

View full course brochure (PDF)

Learning and teaching methods

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


Requirements for graduation

This course is developmental. Participants will receive a graduation certificate if they have 1) regularly attended and actively participated in modules and 2) composes a final poster presentation about a topic of their choice. At the end of the course, you will receive a graduation certificate at an ACS event.

Final project

For the final project presentation you will look into one particular topic in convenience retailing in more depth and create a poster summarising the results. Topics in the past were, for example, HFSS, food waste, seasonal stores or vaping assortment. This topic can be proposed by your employer or yourself. The presentation 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 programme via a poster presentation. 

Course leader

Entry requirements

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

Fees and funding

Price per person:


ACS Members


Non-ACS Members

What these fees include

The fees include all teaching activities and materials.

How to apply

We aim for a cohort of like-minded individuals with expertise and interest in convenience retailing.

To book on the programme and receive a registration form, please contact

Register your interest

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 the full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Professor Sabine Benoit Programme leader

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH