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Head of Retail English Heritage

Join English Heritage at this pivotal time of growth and transformation as their Head of Retail, as the Charity continues to protect one of the most important collections of historic properties. From Stonehenge to Whitby Abbey, as Head of Retail, you will lead the Retail proposition for the Charity across its national portfolio of sites.

  • Location: London, Swindon, regional office or homebased
  • Salary: £63,000 per annum outside London / £70,000 per annum inside London
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Friday 29th March

Who we are

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places. Through these, they bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

No matter what you do or where you do it, by joining English Heritage, you’ll be playing a vital role in looking after some of the greatest places in England so that they can be enjoyed today and for generations to come. English Heritage is quite simply a workplace like no other – taking you behind the scenes of these extraordinary sites and supporting you to share your ideas, inspire others and make a difference.

About the role

The Head of Retail is a visible and inspirational leader within the organisation who will lead on the strategic direction and delivery of their on-site shops and e-commerce (off-site) retail businesses. This role will be responsible for a £20m+ turnover business area across 104 shops within a matrix structure and will drive increased contribution to the Charity.

As part of the strategic development work, you will proactively lead the transformation of their retail offer, identify new business opportunities both at their sites and extend their reach outside their properties to contribute to the profitable growth of the retail business. This will include leading their retail investment requirements, compiling business cases and influencing stakeholders. You will thrive in an environment where continuous improvement is the focus that drives its positive working culture.

As part of the team, you will be developing and implementing the long-term retail strategy and business plan for the profitable growth of the retail business. You will have the opportunity to lead the delivery of sales, ensuring that profit budgets are developed with the Territory teams. You will lead a central and field team of retail operational experts who will lead on the retail aspects of their area and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

As Head of Retail, you will take responsibility for a programme of new product development and will lead a team that will work in collaboration with the content (design), and insight teams to creatively develop ranges which remain relevant to existing audiences and attract both new and under-represented audiences too. Through the Buying and Merchandising team, you will ensure appropriate stock management systems are in place and deliver high levels of availability and optimum stock turn. You will take responsibility for the management of the warehouse and distribution contract to deliver efficient stock distribution, achieving performance against Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and budgets.

Working in collaboration with the Head of Food and Beverage, you will ensure the retail presence in their cafés is cohesive, aligned and delivers to brief. You will lead the development of the English Heritage investment needs, including technology system requirements and a programme of shop fits and refurbishments, ensuring that innovation, design, efficiency and quality are delivered within the budget set. You will provide expertise to the English Heritage Site Investment Programme (SIP) for retail and lead a team of Retail experts, providing strong central support, coaching and policy frameworks for the Retail operation

Adept at achieving targets, you will lead this able and driven team on a path of continuous improvement, organising periodic sector/competitor visits, active networking and involvement in cultural and commercial advisory bodies.

Who we are looking for

With experience of successful accountability for performance in a multisite, multimillion-pound retail environment, we seek an individual with extensive experience in leading a team in a matrix environment with an inspirational vision. As a highly organised person, you will have experience in business planning and budget management and a proven track record of developing and implementing a retail strategy with demonstrable results.

With excellent communication and presentation skills and agility in your approach, you will be a leader in innovative product development and have a host of experience in buying strategies to meet financial targets. With experience in e-commerce management and strategic development, you will be comfortable working within a fast-paced environment and will present with a highly organised approach to managing deadlines and budgets. Possessing resilience and high emotional intelligence, you will be able to distil and resolve and come with experience of transformational change within the heritage/gift retail markets.

With strong interpersonal skills, you will possess the tools necessary to engage partners and third-party organisations to identify and leverage brand opportunities.

With collaboration, empowerment and innovation being at your core, you will lead a collaborative and dynamic culture and uphold the values of English Heritage in working with stakeholders, executives and teams.

You will possess:

  • The ability to set and articulate a clear vision.
  • The ability to manage at scale (prioritise/re-prioritise).
  • A good balance between driving operations and creative thinking.
  • Strong organisational and methodical skills.
  • Sound judgement.
  • Strong influencing skills.

You will be based at either their London, Swindon, one of their regional offices or as a homeworker, but will be working with colleagues across the organisation to lead the delivery of the retail strategy.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Alison Maxwell | alison@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07498 071852

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Rebekah Abbott

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Welcome from the Commercial Director

English Heritage is a conservation charity and cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places – from Stonehenge to Whitby Abbey. Through our people, products and properties, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

You’ll find it’s a workplace like no other – taking you behind the scenes of these extraordinary sites and supporting you to share your ideas, inspire others and make a difference.

The Commercial team are a core part of the Historic Properties Directorate. We are responsible for defining the Commercial Strategy to enable us to be financially sustainable for future generations.

As we enter the final year of our 4-year strategy, this is an exciting time to join the Commercial team at English Heritage. As Head of Retail, you will play a vital role in shaping the next phase of our plan. You will be responsible for driving financial performance, improving the retail proposition and leading a talented team of retailers to deliver on our priorities.

If you are an established commercial leader who thrives on leading a central retail function and wants to ensure our shops are effectively operated and visually enticing, and help equip our site teams to deliver exceptional service, then get in touch – we want to hear from you.

Lycia Lobo
Commercial Director

Accessibility information

English Heritage welcomes everyone.

Passionate about ensuring they are an organisation where everyone is valued, respected and supported for their unique contributions, they put equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of how they innovate, inspire and involve the diverse communities we serve. At English Heritage, everyone works together to build an inclusive culture that encourages the diverse voices of their people.

We are committed to improving equality, diversity and inclusion in everything we do – from supporting our employees and volunteers to welcoming visitors and how we tell the story of England at our sites. More information can be found by clicking here.

English Heritage is dedicated to the well-being of its employees and will actively support you to find the balance which enables you to thrive. With flexible working policies, they recognise that people might have different needs to enable themselves to work at their best and balance both their life and work. They are happy to talk about how best we can accommodate your needs.

We offer the following amenities:

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted.
Garden renovation

Examples of reasonable adjustments include:

  • Individuals can use adapted cars for physical disabilities (rather than hire cars).
  • Additional hardware kit/software to support non-visible disabilities etc.

Below are EDI statistics regarding the diversity of English Heritage’s workforce:

Disabilities: 9%;  Minority Ethics: 3.8%; LGBTQ+ 9.1%

We have several internal networks – Ethnic Diversity, Gender Specific Issues, LGBTQ+, Faith & Belief, Neurodivergence, Age, Disability and Social Mobility.

English Heritage is also a member of the Business Disability Forum.

Lycia Lobo, Commercial Director and Recruiting Manager, is both the Chair of the Disability Network and a member of the Ethnic Diversity Network at English Heritage and is an ambassador for inclusive leadership across the heritage sector.

We are disability confident (Level 1 – Committed) employer, Members of the Stonewall Champions Programme, Investors in People (Standard)

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Alison Maxwell | alison@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07498 071852

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Job Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that their application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting ‘English Heritage – Head of Retail’ into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

    Alison Maxwell | alison@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07498 071852

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

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    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Friday 29th March 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Friday 5th April 2024
    First stage interviews: Thursday 18th April 2024
    Second stage interviews: Tuesday 30th April 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and English Heritage are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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