Shoe retailer marks 155th anniversary with move to real Living Wage

Sixth-generation shoe retailer, Begg Shoes is marking 155 years in business with a move to paying the real Living Wage for its employees.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 11:40 am
Managing director of Begg Shoes, Donald Begg.

Significantly higher than the government’s ‘National Living Wage’ for over 23s (the minimum wage), the company, which has a store in Inverurie, has been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation to provide the only UK wage rate that reflects the cost of living.

Donald said: “Our move to the real Living Wage is a fitting way for us to mark our 155 years in business.

"We are proud to become one of the few bricks and mortar retailers to offer this higher rate of pay. The specialist footwear knowledge of our in-store professionals is a big part of our success and longevity.

"We have long felt that our teams are the best in the business. It’s indictive of how we have continuously adapted and invested in our staff over the last two centuries.”

Originally established in 1866 by Alexander Begg, the company started life as a modest one-man shoemaker from New Pitsligo.

But despite humble beginnings, the company has grown to become one of the leading independent shoe retailers in the UK, with a history of recognising the value of its people.

In 2013, as well as facilitating considerable expansion, the purchase of five DE Shoes stores also enabled the retention of 40 jobs.

More recently, the business played a key role in lobbying for government grants during the pandemic to ensure all of its stores were retained while also helping to safeguard jobs.

Inverurie Store Manager, Hayley Dawson said: "I'm delighted that Begg Shoes have become Living Wage Accredited.

"We have an excellent team of loyal, dedicated and knowledgeable people and I'm proud to work for a family run business that values everyone's efforts and rewards them for it."

Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Scotland Manager added: “We’re delighted that Begg Shoes have become an accredited Living Wage employer. The Living Wage commitment of Begg Shoes is an important demonstration of leadership in tackling low pay in the retail sector.”