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.
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.
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.
Our article on
graduate salaries in retail
lists the salaries previously offered for retail management graduate programmes and examples of the perks and benefits they include.
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
Opportunities are advertised by careers services, by
, and on websites such as
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
- excellent IT skills
- numerical skills
- verbal communication skills
- teamworking skills
- organisational skills
- 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.