Job descriptions and industry overviews

Retail manager: job description

31 Jul 2023, 16:15

Retail managers (sometimes called store managers) are responsible for every aspect of the day-to-day supervision of retail outlets, including sales, staff, stock and resources management.

Purses for sale displayed on shop shelves: store manager job description

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

Retail management involves taking responsibility for the successful running of a store. Working on the shop floor, retail managers are in constant contact with their customers and staff. They are responsible for ensuring their staff give great customer service as well as monitoring the financial performance of the store.

The job titles ‘retail manager’ and ‘store manager’ are essentially the same role, so we’ll use them interchangeably in this article.

A store manager typically reports to an area manager if their store is part of a chain and, in time, can sometimes progress to become an area manager. Assistant store managers and deputy store managers have many of the same responsibilities and can progress to become store managers.

Store manager responsibilities

Typical duties of a store manager or retail manager include:

  • recruiting, training, supervising and appraising staff
  • managing budgets
  • maintaining statistical and financial records
  • dealing with customer queries and complaints
  • overseeing pricing and stock control
  • maximising profitability and setting/meeting sales targets, including motivating staff to do so
  • ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation
  • preparing promotional materials and displays
  • liaising with head office.

A retail manager or store manager is not typically an entry-level role; vacancies are likely to ask for experience of directly leading a team and managing colleagues. However, some large retailers have store manager or area manager graduate schemes and apprenticeships. Read about the experience of a graduate manager on Aldi’s area manager programme for an insight into what these involve.

Salaries in retail management

Salary survey websites suggest that store manager salaries tend to be between £20,000 and £37,000, but some employers will pay upwards of £40,000 or £50,000. Salaries are likely to rise with experience, especially upon promotion from deputy/assistant store manager to store manager and then to area manager.

Benefits and promotional prospects are generally good, with retail chains offering the highest incomes and the best opportunities for advancement, including possibilities of employment within other European countries. Relocation is a common requirement for promotion and during initial training programmes.

Typical employers of retail managers

Every retailer you see on the high street and elsewhere needs store managers, including:

  • department stores
  • DIY stores
  • chain stores
  • supermarkets.

Opportunities are advertised by careers services, by targetjobs , and on websites such as Retail Week .

Qualifications and training required for store managers

There are routes into a retail management career for both university graduates and school leavers, although there are generally fewer opportunities available for school leavers. For graduates, a degree in any discipline is acceptable for entry into the profession, although a qualification in subjects such as accounting, languages, fashion or marketing can be advantageous within certain sectors. Business studies or management degree holders may also be at an advantage. Some employers might ask for candidates with a 2.1 degree or above but some will accept a 2.2. Take a look at our list of retail employers who accept graduates with a 2.2 degree .

Vacancies, particularly those with major retail chains, attract strong competition, so relevant commercial, sales or retail work experience is normally beneficial. Larger employers run internships and work placements, which can provide valuable contacts and a useful insight into the profession. Use our guide to retail work experience to help you explore your options.

Experience in a part-time retail job, such as a sales assistant, is also valuable. Find out the top ten skills you’ll gain from working in part-time retail jobs .

Key skills for retail managers

  • enthusiasm
  • excellent IT skills
  • numerical skills
  • verbal communication skills
  • teamworking skills
  • organisational skills
  • resourcefulness
  • confidence
  • commercial awareness.

For more information on the skills you’ll need to work in retail management, read our article on the five skills retail employers look for – and how you can prove that you possess them.

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