Fashion Retail Management Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about careers in fashion retail management. Get job description, salary and education requirement information. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a fashion retail management career.
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Careers in Fashion Retail Management

Fashion retail management involves using merchandising and business strategy to ensure that products reach customers in the most cost efficient way possible. The table below covers three specialization areas you may wish to consider, including retail sales worker, sales manager and marketing manager.

Retail Sales Worker Sales Manager Marketing Manager
Career Overview Fashion retail sales workers help customers purchase clothing, footwear and accessories. Sales managers oversee sales teams, analyze data and work to meet or exceed sales goals. Marketing managers conduct market research, develop campaigns and set pricing strategies to increase demand for a product.
Education Requirement High school diploma Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Program Length Four years full-time Four years full-time Four years full-time
Additional Training On-the-job training ranging from a few days to several months On-the-job training On-the-job training
Experience Requirement None; entry level 1-5 years experience in sales 1-5 years experience in advertising, marketing or sales
Job Outlook for 2014-2024 7%* 5%* 9%*
Mean Yearly Salary (2014) $25,760* $126,040* $137,400*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Retail Sales Worker

Fashion retail sales workers begin working as soon as they greet a customer. Their main responsibility is to have a deep knowledge of the current inventory and to relate that knowledge to customers who may not know exactly what they want. After determining what the customer needs, a retail salesperson then recommends the appropriate merchandise and answers any questions the customer may have. Then, if the customer wishes to continue the transaction and purchase merchandise, the retail salesperson is responsible for calculating and accepting payment.

These customer interactions typically take place in clean and comfortable stores; however, sales workers are often required to stand for long periods of time while working on the sales floor. Many professionals also work weekends and evenings, with holidays being particularly busy and stressful.

Requirements

Some employers require a high school diploma, although no formal education is required to become a retail sales worker. Most training is performed on the job. The larger the store, the more formal your training. Training covers various topics, such as payment transactions, customer service, store policy and security procedures. Neither licensure nor certifications are required.

In November 2012, some employers of retail sales workers were looking for the following:

  • A retail brand in Los Angeles is seeking a sales associate with fashion retail sales experience. Responsibilities include achieving team sales goals, gaining a deep knowledge of the brand's collection and building strong customer relationships. Candidates must have customer service skills, a willingness to work on a team and the ability to multi-task.
  • A specialty retailer in California wants to hire a sales associate with work experience, knowledge about fashion, strong communication skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. Responsibilities include greeting customers, providing feedback, building relationships, achieving sales goals and performing daily maintenance tasks.
  • A retail company in New York wants to hire a sales associate for the women's shoe department. Responsibilities include meeting performance goals, maintaining performance areas and providing strong customer service. Candidates must be goal-oriented and able to build strong customer relationships.

Standing Out

To stand out as a retail sales worker, you might consider earning a college degree in sales. By earning a degree, you will gain faster entry to managerial positions within a retail company. Strong math skills can also be beneficial, as it will enable you to handle financial transactions with greater ease. Knowledge of the fashion and textile industries could also help you. Jewelry is considered to be a 'big ticket item,' as it leads to greater potential earnings; therefore, you may want to consider learning more about the designer jewelry market.

Sales Manager

Fashion sales managers have a variety of duties, including overseeing the sales staff, preparing the budget, analyzing data, ensuring strong customer service and monitoring trends. Most professionals work full-time with long hours. This position requires a great deal of responsibility and can be stressful, but sales managers are important to an organization's profitability and often enjoy a level of job security.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree is the entry-level requirement for a profession as a sales manager, although some professionals have a master's degree. Work experience is required to advance to this position. Roughly one to five years as a sales representative or purchasing agent is satisfactory. Neither certification nor licensure is required for this profession.

In November 2012, some employers of sales managers were looking for the following:

  • A retail company in Tennessee is seeking a sales manager who has completed some college coursework and has one to two years of work experience. Candidates must be able to communicate trends, adjust to the constant changes in fashion and have an upbeat attitude. Experience with fashion retail is essential.
  • A retail company in New York wants to hire a retail sales manager for the dresses, coats and swimwear department. Duties include driving sales, recruiting sales professionals and planning merchandise placement. Candidates must have at least five years experience in fashion retail sales management.
  • A retail company in Los Angeles wants to hire a fine jewelry and fashion accessories sales manager. Duties include recruiting sales associates, monitoring team performance and delivering outstanding customer service. Candidates must have at least five years experience in retail management.

Standing Out

To stand out as a sales manager, you should consider obtaining relevant work experience in business-to-business sales, as this segment of the market is growing faster than business-to-customer sales. Earning an advanced degree could also be beneficial. Still, if you want to get an edge over your peers, develop a deep knowledge and understanding of the fashion industry and relevant products.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers employed in the fashion industry collaborate with other department heads to develop effective marketing campaigns by analyzing market research, identifying potential markets and studying trends in order to forecast product demand. Professionals work in offices full-time. This career path can be stressful, and travel is sometimes necessary to meet clients.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree is typically required to gain entrance into this field. Courses in statistics, management, business law and economics could be beneficial. Since employment as a marketing manager is not an entry-level position, you will need several years of work experience in marketing, sales, promotions or advertising to advance to this level. Neither certification nor licensure is necessary.

In November 2012, some employers of marketing managers were looking for the following:

  • A manufacturer and retailer of handbags and accessories in Los Angeles wants to hire a marketing manager to increase customer retention rates and build brand loyalty. Duties include writing reports, measuring retention, coordinating the implementation of programs and driving campaigns. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree and three to five years experience in fashion retail.
  • A retail brand in Indiana wants to hire a social media marketing manager to cultivate an online community through the implementation of social media marketing strategies. Duties include executing a social media calendar, generating custom content and monitoring results. Candidates must have at least four years experience in marketing, public relations and communication, as well as two years experience working directly with social media.
  • A retail company in Massachusetts wants to hire a senior manager of brand marketing with a bachelor's degree and twelve years experience, with at least five years experience in retail, marketing or advertising. Responsibilities include managing a marketing team, implementing marketing strategies, acquiring new customers and meeting sales goals. Strong marketing skills proven in the fashion and retail industries are essential.

Standing Out

To stand out as a marketing manager, you should consider an advanced degree in marketing or advertising. In addition, a background in mathematics, statistics or finance could be beneficial. Also, as technology continues to affect how managers collect and analyze data, an understanding of computer science and various types of software can help you get an edge in the workforce.

Popular Schools

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    1. Purdue University Global

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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MBA: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • Associate: Business Admin.

Which subject are you interested in?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Business Administration - Management
  • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
  • AA: Business Administration

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Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • MBA
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • M.A. in Business & Design Management
  • Master of Arts in Law - Business
  • B.S. in Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Marketing

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Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business
  • MBA - Management

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Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

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