1. Graduates should aim to join a management scheme at one of the large chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer or Arcadia.
2. Alternatively, start your own business (online is an easy route) or work in a local store and use your skills to work your way up.
3. Cultivate astute commercial awareness. Understand how to close sales, what to offer customers and how to identify new business opportunities. Know your competition.
4. Go the extra mile. Get noticed on the shop floor by being proactive with shoppers. Continually survey your stock to ensure it looks its best.
5. Be forward-thinking. A good retailer will identify new trends and plan for the future. Get ahead by continually looking for ways to innovate.
6. Be a good manager. Know how to handle difficult customers, bring out the best in your staff and take control during crises.
7. Senior managers can earn up to six figures by their late thirties - eg, Belinda Earl, started at 38 as CEO of Debenhams on £245,000.