Scottish shoe retailer Beggs Shoes celebrates 155 years with switch to real living wage payment

Donald Begg

Sixth generation shoe retailer, Begg Shoes celebrates 155 years of existence by paying true living wages for its employees. Significantly higher than the government’s national living wage for those over 23, the company has been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation to provide the only UK wage rate that reflects the cost of living.

Begg Shoes, which is headquartered in Inverness and nine Perth stores in Lerwick, is one of the oldest independent shoe retailers in the UK.

It is headed by the Managing Director, Donald Begg.

“Our move to Real Living Wage is a fitting way for us to mark our 155 years in business,” he said.

“We are proud to become one of the few physical 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 shows how much we have continually adapted and invested in our people over the past two centuries. “

Originally founded in 1866 by Alexander Begg, the company began life as a modest shoemaker in New Pitsligo.

But despite humble beginnings, the company has grown into one of the UK’s leading independent shoe retailers, with a tradition of recognizing the value of its employees.

In 2013, it developed considerably with the takeover of five DE Shoes stores, which also enabled 40 jobs to be maintained.

More recently, the company has played a key role in lobbying for government grants during the pandemic to ensure all of its stores are maintained while helping to save jobs.

Mr. Begg added, “Our move to Real Living Wage will help ensure that our stores continue to operate with a high level of service and support our growth for many years to come.

“We believe our predecessors would be pleased with our vision and our investment in people who, from the very beginning of the company, have helped make our progress possible.”

Inverurie Store Manager Hayley Dawson said: “I am delighted that Begg Shoes has become Living Wage Accredited.

“We have a great team of loyal, dedicated and knowledgeable people and I am proud to work for a family business that values ​​and rewards everyone’s efforts. “

Lynn Anderson, Director of Living Wage Scotland, was delighted that Begg Shoes had become a Living Wage Accredited Employer.

“The living wage movement has grown considerably, but too many workers employed in the retail sector remain in the grip of low wages and struggle to meet their daily needs,” she said. declared.

“There are over 2,400 certified living wage employers in Scotland, but less than five per cent of these employers are in the retail trade.

“Begg Shoes’ Living Wage Pledge is an important demonstration of leadership in tackling low wages in the retail industry.”

A beloved company fighting for its survival

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