Dream comes true for new store boss

Carole Rigby managed seven large department stores without ever applying for a job.

She’s been responsible for up to 140 staff, taken charge of a £1m shop refurbishment and managed one of British Home Stores’ top 10 UK home stores – but never had a job interview.

That changed when she decided to pursue her dream job – to work for Marks and Spencer – and at 36, Carole now finds herself manager of the company’s store in the Eagles Meadow shopping centre at Wrexham.

“I just love retailing,” said Carole.

Born in St.Helens, Carole started working part-time at the local Safeway store when she was 16 while she successfully completed her A-levels.

“I had ambitions to go to university but when I got promoted I started working full-time at Safeway when I was 18 and worked my way up through the ranks to become manager about six years later,” she said.

She made the switch to Bhs when she became assistant store manager at their huge Liverpool store and returned to St.Helens as Bhs store manager.

She was there only six months before taking over a larger Bhs store at Telford where she stayed about three years and oversaw its £1m refurbishment.

Carole was then promoted to manage the Bhs store at Broughton Retail Park in Flintshire which is regarded as one of the company’s top 10 home stores.

When Bhs Chief Executive Tony Brown decided to leave the company and move across to the Beales department store chain he wanted to take tried and trusted personnel with him and asked Carole.

“I’d worked with Tony Brown previously and he’s an amazing person so I left Bhs and went to work for Beales first at Southport but then managing their flagship store at Bournemouth.

“Six months later I made the biggest career decision of my life. Up to then I had never done a job interview in my life. I had always moved with managers who knew me and wanted me to work for them.

“I did a lot of research. I had always wanted to work for M&S and all their values and beliefs make them such an outstanding company. I was not going to jump ship lightly and this was the only job I had ever applied for.

“I just sent my CV in to the company and was asked to attend an interview and got the job,” she said.

“I was given 12 weeks in depth training. The training programme is absolutely world-class. This company lives and breathes its values and beliefs, not like some company’s who just hang them on a wall.

“You also get to work with amazing staff who actually want to be here and working for the company. It’s a joy to come into work every day,” said Carole who is in charge of 96 staff at Wrexham.

Along the way Carole has also found time to meet and fall in love with soon-to-be husband Mark Davies. He’s 41 and an engineer working for Airbus at Broughton and Carole and Mark will be marrying on July 27. What spare time they get they like to go out on Mark’s motorcycle.

Carole thinks the Eagles Meadow centre is “brilliant”. She said: “It’s a lovely set up with the cinema and the restaurant. The parking facilities are amazing too. All new things take time to bed in but I’m sure it’s going to be a huge success.”

Eagles Centre Manager Kevin Critchley was delighted to welcome Carole to the centre.

He said: “Carole’s impressive track record and the fantastic ethos of M and S is a winning combination.”

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