Merchant turns academic at Oxford

A Manchester wine merchant has won a training scholarship worth £1,500 on a retail management course for independent retailers.

Mark Dent, of Hanging Ditch, will attend the British Shops & Stores Association Summer School residential


at Keble College, Oxford. He is one of 10 independent store managers to win a bursary funded by Skillsmart Retail and Retail Trust.

The course will

focus on enhancing each delegate's skills in the management of people, money, merchandise and retail space. It also aims to sharpen their practical skills in the workplace.

Dent said: "I was flattered that Hanging Ditch wine store is included in the list of independent retailers that will attend the Oxford Summer School. Seldom do you get the opportunity to work alongside other retailers in an academic environment.

"It will benefit me and the store by providing an insight into the operational skills and work ethics of larger companies and how this can be applied to a smaller business. This is a personal gain for me and for the small retailer because it will give us an edge on our competitors."

Anne Seaman, chief executive of Skillsmart Retail, added: "We were extremely impressed with Mark's enthusiasm and were very happy to give him a scholarship. Many small retailers know the risk of falling behind the competition if they don't keep up with the latest trends so the Oxford Summer School experience will help to make their businesses stronger and contribute to the local economy."

Retail managers interested in applying for a scholarship in 2009 can email

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