Retail Manager: Career Profile, Job Outlook and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become a retail manager. Learn about job responsibilities, education requirements, job outlook and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Retail Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Retail Manager

Retail managers oversee the daily operations of a retail store, including directing employees and ensuring overall store profitability. Every day tasks include taking inventory, monitoring sales activities and ordering stock. They are also in charge of providing customer support when customers have questions, request assistance or have complaints. Often, a retail manager will organize meetings with sales representatives to motivate and inspire them to meet sales goals. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree required by some employers
Education Field of Study Business management, macroeconomics, psychology, finance, business information systems
Job Duties Hire and supervise staff, track inventory, create and maintain budgets, oversee purchasing, provide customer service
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% (for all first-line supervisors of retail workers)*
Median Salary (2015) $38,310 (for all first-line supervisors of retail workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is the Career Profile for a Retail Manager?

Supervising sales staff, enforcing health and safety rules, tracking inventory, budgeting and purchasing would all be among your responsibilities as a retail manager. One of your main duties, however, would be to make certain that store patrons receive quality goods and excellent customer service. You'd also be involved in personnel issues, such as hiring, training, scheduling and payroll. You must also deal with customer service concerns, such as complaints and inquiries.

Another part of your work as a retail manager would be ensuring that stores and merchandise are clean and organized. In a smaller retail outlet, you might be responsible for the entire store, but in a larger operations, you may be in charge of a specific department. Many retail managers work their way up the chain of command from cashiers or salespersons into management positions.

What Is the Projected Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers would increase slower than average compared to all U.S. occupations, with a projected growth rate of two to four percent from 2014 through 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that individuals with plenty of sales experience or a college degree would have the best prospects for employment. As of 2015, all first-line supervisors of retail workers earned average annual salaries of $42,900.

What Education Requirements Should I Complete?

Although not all retail management positions require a college education, an associate's or bachelor's degree program in business or a related field can provide the skills necessary to succeed as a retail manager. In fact, some employers require college degrees for this position, or at least previous sales experience. If you decide in favor of educational training, your associate's or bachelor's degree business program might encompass such subjects as business management, macroeconomics, psychology, logistics management, computer applications, financial management and business information systems.

Once you have the requisite education or experience, you might undergo additional training in a store's management training program. You'll receive comprehensive training in such areas as company operations and procedures, human resource management, finance, marketing and purchasing. Depending upon your employer, management training can take anywhere from a week to a year to complete.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Often to gain the experience needed to become a retail manager, individuals will work as a retail salespeople. Not including managerial responsibilities, retail managers and salespeople often share many of the same tasks. When comparing managerial positions, retail management is similar to management positions in the food preparation and serving industry, housekeeping and janitorial industry and the gaming industry. In all of these industries, managers must keep track of stock and supplies, oversee workers and maintain customer satisfaction.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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