Store managers supervise a retail organization's staff, meet customer needs, and plan and coordinate sales, merchandising, and budgeting. In order to effectively perform the multitude of tasks required, managers should work well under pressure and with deadlines, and have significant experience in retail business and human resources. They also need strong leadership, interpersonal and multitasking skills.
Store managers may work for a variety of retailers, including food, apparel, and electronics. They work in office environments while performing administrative duties and on the sales floor while addressing staffing, consumer, and merchandising needs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected the job growth for sales managers from 2014-2024 would be 5%. According to Payscale.com, the median annual salary in 2016 for retail store managers was $43,441.
Duties of Store Managers
In the office, store managers plan, monitor and maximize retail budgets and product inventory, purchasing and sales. They may work closely with regional managers and store owners to coordinate and determine the most cost-effective marketing and hiring strategies, and align their particular franchise with a retailer's parent business philosophy. Store managers use company software to draft proposals, recruit employees, and research and track products.
On the floor, store managers must assemble the best possible sales team. They interview and selectively hire the most qualified candidates, provide time-efficient and thorough training, and maintain the skills and well-being of current staff with motivational incentives and evaluations. In addition, managers must address customer needs by immediately resolving conflict, inspiring long-term customer relationships, and creatively placing and rotating merchandise in a way that best catches customers' attention.
Store Manager Requirements
Because of the increasing amounts of responsibility placed on store managers, many employers prefer to hire employees with a bachelor's degree or other formal education in a business-related field. A bachelor's in business administration degree program provides students with the skills necessary to become effective store managers through coursework in such subjects as marketing, accounting, business ethics, and management strategy. Employees with a degree are most likely to be promoted to a higher level of management and administration in larger retail companies.
Various retail organizations provide their own managerial training programs. According to the BLS, such programs may last anywhere from one week to one year, and offer both on-the-job and classroom training. Topics covered in these programs range from customer service skills to employee interviewing and relations.
The National Retail Federation provides prospective store managers with the training and skills necessary for the job through courses in retail management, merchandising, and human resources. However, actual experience in retail management and sales may substitute for formal education or training, depending on the employer.
A store manager oversees employees and operations at a retail location. A bachelor's degree or other training may be required to get a job as a store manager.