Ian Bell began his retailing career in a time-honoured way - working in a local supermarket as a 17-year-old student. He later joined a management training scheme before taking the reins of a Fine Fare outlet. Following various jobs in different stores he joined the wholesale industry as a grocery buyer in 1982. In 1992 he began working with Parfetts as a department manager of its Doncaster depot and became general manager of the Somercotes depot in October 2004.