Begg Shoes

Begg Shoes began life as a shoemaker in 1866 and continues to be a family run operation, with the sixth generation now managing the company.

Over the years, Begg Shoes have grown to become one of the biggest independent shoe retailers in the UK, with nine stores across Scotland from Perth to Lerwick.

Retailers have faced huge challenges in recent years, from the rise in online shopping and changing consumer habits, and then dealing with a global pandemic resulting in even fewer people visiting shops in person. There have also been the risks posed to staff who are working in public facing roles and the resulting staff shortages.

Begg Shoes value their hard-won reputation and are cognisant of the fact that this reputation relies on having well trained and customer focused staff.

“We have earned a good reputation in retail and giving our staff the credit and pay they deserve helps us maintain that standing and strengthen our brand.”

Donald Begg, Managing Director

Employees at Begg Shoes are offered a range of benefits such as free shoes, specialist training, uniform allowance, as well as some performance bonuses, and paying a real Living Wage fits with company values. Adopting the real Living Wage is seen as a positive step for them, helping maintain the high standards they have set in the industry and supporting the retention of employees who deliver a high-quality service and customer experience.

“We have great people that work with us and we want to fairly reward their efforts. Implementing the real Living Wage also supports the people-focussed ethos of our business.”

Donald Begg, Managing Director

Begg Shoes made the decision to become a Living Wage employer before the pandemic, but had to delay their accreditation in order to navigate the challenges and deal with the repercussions of Covid-19. Begg Shoes were able to complete the accreditation process in November 2021 and were delighted to publicly share their commitment.

“We recognised that the strategic ambitions we had were dependent on a solid, dependable and skilled workforce and we wanted to reflect the importance of our employees’ role in that by providing a fair rate of pay.”

Donald Begg, Managing Director

“It’s great to work for a family run business that appreciates their staff and pays a real Living Wage.”

Employee, Begg Shoes

The Process

Begg Shoes were pleased to find the process to be really simple and straightforward, more so than they had originally anticipated. However, it was a big step for them as a retailer with so many different social and economic factors that have influenced the sector over recent years.

Ahead of their decision, they took the time to analyse and evaluate their whole pay strategy, and a fundamental change was required for historic KPIs, and developing new processes to appraise performance under this new commercial model. 

The Benefits

Begg Shoes anticipate positive changes by implementing the real Living Wage, aiming to bolster productivity, and maintain low levels of employee turnover, to bring about an enhanced customer experience, and ultimately demonstrate the value of local shopping.

“Beggs is a fab place to work and I really appreciate that the Begg family have recognised that the skills and knowledge required to do the job of sales advisor is worthy of the real Living Wage. With the cost of living on the rise the extra pay is gratefully received.”

Louise, Sales Advisor



Begg Shoes believe that, as people become more conscious about the cost of living in the current economic climate, jobs paying the real Living Wage are likely to be prioritised by job seekers and more valued by those currently in receipt of it.

“While we recognise the challenge for fellow retailers, particularly smaller ones, we would encourage others to embrace the scheme if they are in a position to do so. If you have the right strategy in place, the real Living Wage will benefit you in the long-run.”

Donald Begg, Managing Director

Download a pdf version of Begg Shoes Profile here