Retail Distribution Manager: Job Description & Career Info

Apr 16, 2019

Learn about the education and training requirements for retail distribution managers. Find information about logistical duties, job outlook, and earnings potential here.

Career Definition for a Retail Distribution Manager

Retail distribution managers oversee the logistics of moving retail products from warehouses to vendors and suppliers, which includes meeting an organization's requirements for supply and demand. They may also manage warehouse teams and interact with vendors and suppliers.

Education/Experience High school diploma and five years of experience; a bachelor's degree may be required for some positions
Job Skills Communication, accounting, computer, management, and organizational skills
Median Salary (May 2018)* $94,730 (transportation, storage, and distribution managers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7% (transportation, storage, and distribution managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

Entry-level requirements for retail distribution managers include a high school diploma and five years of experience in the field. However, a bachelor's degree in distribution management and technology, logistics and supply management, or business administration may be required for some positions.

Skills Required

Retail distribution managers need excellent communication skills, not only to deal with internal staff but also to negotiate with vendors and suppliers. Accounting, computer, management, and organizational skills are also essential.

Career and Salary Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), transportation, storage, and distribution managers are projected to experience a 7%, or as fast as average, growth in jobs nationwide from 2016 to 2026. Additionally, the BLS noted that the median annual salary for transportation, storage, and distribution managers was $94,730 in May 2018 (

Alternate Career Options

A couple of careers similar to retail distribution management are profiled below.

Cargo and Freight Agents

Cargo and freight agents, who work in air, train, or truck stations, are responsible for routing outgoing shipments in an expeditious and timely manner. Their duties include processing orders and bills of lading, calculating charges and duties, and transporting shipments to docks and loading platforms. A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for securing a position; cargo and freight agents also receive short-term training on the job. Nationwide, job opportunities are expected to increase by a faster-than-average rate of 10% from 2016-2026 for cargo and freight agents, who earned a median annual wage of $43,210 in May 2018, according to the BLS.

First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers

Retail sales supervisors oversee the activities of department or store associates. Management duties may include those related to bookkeeping, budgeting, or personnel. Entry-level employment typically requires a high school diploma and five years or less of supervisory experience. Across the country, employment prospects are projected to grow by a slower-than-average rate of 4% from 2016-2026 for first-line retail supervisors, who were paid a median salary of $39,630 in May 2018, as reported by the BLS.

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