Retail Sales Manager Job Description: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for retail sales managers. Get the facts about job duties, work experience requirements, salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Retail Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Retail Sales Manager?

A retail sales manager supervises a team of sales representatives and works with customers. These managers work to provide top-notch customer service and respond to inquiries and complaints. Managers also have to inventory and reorder stock, reconcile cash receipts and advise staff on how to deal with difficult situations. They should have knowledge of sales, marketing and administration. As well, they should have good communication and active-listening skills . Technological skills such as knowing how to use a point-of-sale system and time-accounting software is also beneficial for these professionals. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a retail sales manager.

Education Required No strict education requirements, associate's or bachelor's degree programs available
Education Field of Study Retail sales management
Training Required Related work experience often required
Key Responsibilities Hire, train and oversee the work of a sales staff, manage customer complaints or sales-staff performance issues, maintain budgets, keep track of inventory
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% (for all first-line supervisors of retail sales workers)*
Average Salary (2015) $42,900 (for all first-line supervisors of retail sales workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Retail Sales Manager Do?

As a retail sales manager, you will be responsible for overseeing the work of a sales staff and ensuring that your customers have a positive shopping experience. One of the main aspects of your job will most likely be hiring and training new sales representatives. You may schedule employees, assign daily duties and motivate the sales staff at your retail location. You might also be responsible for other supervisory duties, such as designing and maintaining budgets, keeping track of inventory and purchasing additional merchandise.

Since you may work in a variety of locations, from clothing stores to automobile dealerships, your duties will vary depending on the size and type of environment. You may be in charge of one department or one specific aspect of merchandising. Additionally, because you are responsible for the entirety of your customers' shopping experiences, you may have to deal with customer complaints or sales-staff performance issues.

What Skills Do I Need?

In order to be a retail sales manager, you must have strong communication skills and be willing to interact with a wide variety of clientele. You will also need the patience and tact to handle customer complaints or employee problems. Additionally, because you'll oversee a sales team, you will need to possess strong leadership capabilities. For instance, you must be able to keep your employees motivated, maintain self-discipline in order to complete your own projects and work with your team to create a positive retail environment.

How Do I Become a Retail Sales Manager?

One way to become a retail sales manager is to gain experience in sales or related fields. January 2012 Monster.com job postings for retail sales managers showed that employers often require their applicants to have at least five years of related experience. While there are no strict education requirements for sales manager positions, companies will often provide you with some type of formal training once you are hired. This may include classroom or hands-on instruction, and the duration of training will vary depending on the company.

Additionally, many companies hire managers from within because the employees already know the basic policies and are knowledgeable about the company's merchandise. Consequently, starting at a company as a sales representative may be a useful way to begin a career as a retail sales manager.

Even though experience is highly valued in this field, there are also programs at the undergraduate-degree levels that may help prepare you for a retail sales manager position. Retail sales management is usually offered as an area of emphasis within a larger business-related program. In an associate or bachelor's program in retail sales management, you can expect to take general business and marketing courses in addition to specialized courses, such as retail communication, merchandising and retail-team management.

How Much Could I Earn?

Salary levels for retail sales managers vary greatly depending on the industry and the location of the company. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most retail sales supervisors made between $23,770 and $64,640 annually in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Those who worked for software publishers reported the highest average salary at $82,140. Another high-paying industry was automobile sales, which offered on average $80,300 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those interested in a career as a retail sales manager might also wish to look into some related alternative careers. For instance, a gaming manager or supervisor in a casino needs to have similar communication and supervisory skills as a retail manager. They also work to make sure customers and staff are following casino rules, ensure that payouts are correct and coordinate with other departments. Depending on the casino, gaming managers may be required to have some formal training beyond high school. Another option may be to pursue a career as a supervisor of housekeeping and janitorial staff. They generally need a high school degree and some experience in the field; they may have the option of attending an apprenticeship program.

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