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Retail manager: job description

Retail manager: job description

Retail managers are responsible for every aspect of the day-to-day supervision of retail outlets, including sales, staff, stock and resources management.
You'll need good commercial and people skills to succeed in this role.

What does a retail manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

A retail manager’s role is to run a store successfully. Working on the shop floor, they are in constant contact with their customers and staff. Ensuring their staff give great customer service as well as dealing with the financial side of the store and people management.

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • recruiting, training, supervising and appraising staff
  • managing budgets
  • maintaining statistical and financial records
  • planning
  • promoting and marketing the business
  • dealing with customer queries and complaints
  • overseeing pricing and stock control
  • maximising profitability and meeting sales targets
  • ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation
  • preparing promotional materials and displays

Salaries, benefits and promotional prospects are generally good, with chains offering the highest incomes and the best opportunities for advancement, including possibilities of employment within Europe. Relocation is commonly required for promotion and during initial training programmes.

Typical employers of retail managers

Retail outlets that employ retail managers include department, DIY and chain stores. Larger employers run vacation courses and offer 'year out' and shorter work placements, which can provide valuable contacts and a useful insight into the profession.

Opportunities are advertised by careers services, online on, in local, regional and national newspapers and in publications such as Retail Week and the International Journal of Retail and Distribution  as well as their online equivalents.

Qualifications and training required

A degree in any discipline is acceptable for entry into the profession, although a qualification in subjects such as languages, fashion and textiles can be advantageous within certain sectors. Business studies or management degree holders may also be at an advantage.

Vacancies, particularly those with major retail chains, attract strong competition, so relevant commercial, sales or retailing work experience is normally beneficial.

Key skills for retail managers

  • Enthusiasm
  • Excellent IT skills
  • Numerical skills
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Teamworking skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Energy
  • Resourcefulness
  • Confidence
  • Commercial awareness
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