Retail Sales Manager Careers: Salary Information & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a retail sales management career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a retail sales manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Retail Sales Manager

Retail sales management can be an ideal career option if you like to work with others and take part in sales and business growth. Learn more about the pros and cons of becoming a retail sales manager to see if it's the right fit for you.

Pros of a Retail Sales Management Career
Higher-than-average pay (median salary of about $110,000 as of May 2014)*
Sales managers typically receive commissions or bonuses*
Good job security because of the importance of this position to most companies*
Don't necessarily need a college degree to secure a job*

Cons of a Retail Sales Management Career
May work long hours*
High-stress job (responsible for the sales and growth of your store)*
Travel may be required*
Strong competition for sales management positions*

Source: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

Retail sales managers are responsible for overseeing sales operations in a retail setting, implementing promotional plans and analyzing sales data. They communicate company goals to sales associates and ensure a positive shopping experience for customers. As a retail sales manager, you might recruit and hire sales associates and provide them with training and assistance in meeting personal sales goals. Retail sales managers typically work in retail stores or company offices, and you may be required to travel between various locations.

Salary Info and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the middle half of all sales managers made between $74,000 and $160,000 per year as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). This data includes sales managers who worked in other areas besides retail. The BLS predicted that jobs for sales managers in all industries would increase by 8% from 2012-2022, which was about as fast as average, although only 20% of all sales managers worked in retail. The BLS reported that the number of retail sales management positions was low compared to the number of people seeking these positions, so you can expect to face tough competition.

What Are the Requirements?

According to the BLS, most sales managers have bachelor's degrees, but you may not need a degree for some positions if you have substantial sales experience. If you do choose to earn a degree, consider business, management, marketing or a related major. In addition to education and work experience, retail sales managers must have strong analytical, customer service and managerial skills to interpret sales data, meet customer expectations and manage sales associates.

What Employers Are Looking for

Employers typically look for retail sales managers with managerial or sales experience and excellent interpersonal skills. The following are a few examples of job postings found in April 2012.

  • A New Jersey company placed an ad for a retail sales manager with at least a high school diploma, 2-3 years of retail experience and 1-2 years of managerial experience. Candidates must be able to supervise and motivate sales associates, meet sales goals and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • A California company was looking for a retail sales manager with a bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience and 3-5 years of multi-departmental management experience to oversee store operations and employees. Applicants must have a valid driver's license and be able to obtain forklift certification.
  • A San Francisco department store advertised for a highly organized retail sales manager with five years of retail management experience to recruit, train and lead sales professionals and ensure a quality shopping experience for customers.

How to Stand out

The main requirements for retail sales managers are a bachelor's degree and management or sales experience. If you don't have a degree, consider taking leadership, sales or marketing courses to learn skills that are valuable to employers. You can also consider first working as a sales associate or supervisor to gain the experience required for some positions. Because the retail sales field covers a wide variety of products, such as clothing, electronics, hardware and sporting goods, learning more about these products and their target market can benefit your retail sales management career and make you more appealing to employers.

Other Careers to Consider

Marketing Manager

If a career as a retail sales manager isn't right for you, consider becoming a marketing manager. These workers are responsible for analyzing consumer demand and marketing trends to help their organization develop successful products, services or pricing. According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree in the business or finance field is a typical requirement for this occupation, and you may benefit from courses in marketing, consumer behavior or communications. The BLS predicted that jobs for marketing managers would grow by 14% from 2010-2020, and the median annual salary for these workers was around $116,000 as of May 2011.

Public Relations Manager

If you would rather work directly with the public, consider a career as a public relations manager. They're responsible for creating and maintaining a specific public image for their clients through press releases, interviews and other forms of public communication. According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree in business or public relations is typically required for most positions. The BLS predicted that jobs in this field would grow by 16% from 2010-2020. Public relations managers earned a median annual salary of about $93,000 as of May 2011.

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Johns Hopkins University

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Saint John's University

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