OSS Retail was founded as Oxford Summer School in 1923 by the Drapers Chamber of Trade. 

The chamber recognised a lack of retail specific development for the industry’s talented leaders. The group therefore sought to offer the highest quality training to the most talented leaders in the industry. A value that has remained over 95 years later.

Our History

Retail centric

In 1989 the British Shops & Stores Association (bssa) took ownership of OSS Retail with the programmes earning a reputation as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of retail training. 20 years later bssa merged with the British Hardware Federation (BHF) before being rebranded to form the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) in May 2011.


The commitment to our delegates has remained throughout our history and we place a high emphasis on working hard in the teams but also in having fun and enjoying the social element that is part and parcel of the retail trade. 


Each of our programmes takes place in in learning environments renowned for their excellence. Including Keble College (Academy), St. Hugh’s College (Foundation) and Saïd Business School, at Egrove Park, (Masters).


Whilst we are very proud of our long relationship with the prestigious city of Oxford our programmes are not run or accredited by the University of Oxford.

Past speakers

Mark Newton-Jones



Catriona Marshall



Helen Dickinson OBE

Chief Executive

British Retail Consortium

Justin King



Chris Brook-Carter

Managing Director

Retail Week

Cormac Tobin

Managing Directors

Celeslo UK

Vanessa Golg

Managing Director

Ann Summers

Lord Mark Price

Managing Director


Jason Cotta

Managing Director

Costa UK & Ireland

Peter Pritchard

Chief Executive Officer

Pets at Home

Amee Chance

Managing Director

Alibaba Group

Steve Finlan

Chief Executive Officer

The Wine Society

Andrew Marrins

Head of Learning & Development


Mike Hawes

Vice President Global Organisational Development

Avis Budget Group

Latest news

Support and guidance

At OSS Retail, our primary focus has always been on people. With this very much in mind amidst the ever developing COVID-19 situation, we must regrettably announce that we will......