Peter Pritchard - CEO of Retail, Pets at Home Group
Peter is a highly experienced retailer, with 25 years’ experience in leadership roles at some of the UK’s most successful businesses. He is currently Chief Executive Officer of Retail at Pets at Home, a role he has held since 2015. He joined the business in 2011 as Commercial Director.
Prior to joining Pets at Home, Peter worked in various senior operational and commercial roles, including at Asda, where he worked for 12 years as their Store Development Director and Fresh Foods Trading Director, amongst other roles. His other roles in retail have been with Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Marks and Spencer and Wilkinson Hardware Stores.
I had always known I wanted to work in retail even before I started as a trainee manager at Sainsbury’s. In my mid 20s I regretted not going to University and so began a part time degree in MBA Retailing at Stirling – it was a good fit and the course was specifically aligned to my career. My employer was supportive and sponsored me to attend Stirling which was a great help.
The course and the staff were brilliant - Adelina Broadbridge, Keri Davies, Steve Burt, Leigh Sparks, Paul Freathy and Eric Calderwood in particular. As all of the other students worked in retail, there was an instant connection – we all had to balance home and work life and commit to intensive coursework, but did enjoy many memorable Saturday nights in the Stirling Management Centre!
One of my most vivid memories from my time at Stirling would have to be handing my dissertation to the Post Office and telling them to take good care of it as it represented 9 months of my life! When I received a distinction, I felt like I’d won the lottery. It was a massive confidence boost and gave me a real ‘can do’ attitude thereafter.
Retailing is a tough industry, particularly in light of recent economic and political developments. We have a number of challenges to face including keeping up with customer demands, changing customer habits and the implementation of the living wage.
My advice to current students would be to take time to enjoy what you do, it’s a special moment in time. Learning should be difficult and new, but it will be rewarding. My Stirling MBA was a game changer in terms of the impact on my career. My memories from that time in my life are all happy ones …I even called my cat Stirling!
MBA Retailing 1998