Retail Purchasing Manager: Career Profile

Sep 09, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a retail purchasing manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and job growth projections to find out if this is the career for you.

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Retail purchasing managers supervise and facilitate the buying of finished products that will be then be resold by companies. Many employers expect their applicants to have a bachelor's degree in supply chain management but those hired will still receive on-the-job training. This job market is competitive and growing slower than average, but those who break through can earn a high income.

Essential Information

Retail purchasing managers buy finished products, such as appliances and clothing, to be resold to consumers or companies. Although employees may work their way up to purchasing management positions, employers typically prefer hiring individuals who hold college degrees and/or are already familiar with the purchasing process. The degrees can be in a closely related field, such as supply chain management, or another related area, including business or economics. Most retailers require an extensive on-the-job training period in addition to the degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree is generally required
Other Requirements On-the-job training
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% (for all purchasing managers)
Mean Salary (2018)* $125,630 (for all purchasing managers)

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

Career Profile

Retail purchasing managers may direct, supervise and facilitate the complex interactions between lower-level buyers, wholesale suppliers, warehouse personnel and others involved in the purchasing process. They may also need to represent the interests of their employers during contract negotiations and policy preparations with suppliers.

Since purchasing managers may be responsible for the goods their companies sell, they may need to be sensitive to market trends and consumer demographics. Purchasing managers may also need to posses some familiarity with email, enterprise resource planning, project management, spreadsheet, word processing and procurement software.

Education and Training

Although retail purchasing managers may not necessarily be required to hold a bachelor's degree in order enter the field, large companies may give preference to candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as business, economics or applied science. A bachelor's degree in a program such as supply chain management may be particularly beneficial to students planning on going into purchasing management. Students in these programs may be required to take courses on business marketing, information systems and logistics. In addition, managerial prospects may be required to undergo a 1-5 year on-the-job training period.


There are several different credentialing organizations available for purchasing managers aspiring to gain specialized training and certification. The Institute for Supply Management confers the Certified Professional in Supply Management designation to individuals who master such areas as risk compliance, finance and supplier relationship. The American Purchasing Society confers both the Certified Purchasing Professional and the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager titles to individuals with demonstrated competence in supply chain standards and practices. Earning these credentials typically requires completing work and educational experience, as well as passing a qualifying examination.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of retail purchasing managers is expected to increase at a slower-than-average rate of 4% between 2018 and 2028. As of May 2018, the mean annual wage for purchasing managers was $125,630, as reported by the BLS, although this figure does not distinguish wholesale from retail managers.

Retail purchasing managers are the supervisors who facilitate the complex interactions between retail businesses and the companies who create the products to be sold. Those interested in this career can receive a bachelor's degree in supply chain management as well as become certified by the Institute for Supply Management.

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