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Retail Operations Manager: Salary, Duties & Job Description

Retail operations managers perform a variety of complex tasks related to the management of retail stores. For more information on what these professionals do and how much they earn, keep reading.

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Career Definition of a Retail Operations Manager

Retail operations managers are tasked with maintaining the upkeep of retail stores. Job duties include ensuring the physical space is tidy and organized, along with managing employees and meeting performance goals.

Managers typically start their careers as entry-level workers, serving as sales associates or representatives and demonstrating their value before eventually being promoted to the management tier.

Educational Requirements High school diploma
Job Skills Customer service, interpersonal communication, organization, conflict resolution
Median Salary (2018)* $55,427
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 7% (for all sales managers)

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Unlike many other management professions, retail operations managers will not need a bachelor's degree. Acquiring postsecondary education in a business-oriented field will certainly be an advantage (some positions will list it as a preferred credential), but it is not a required component of an aspiring manager's resume. A high school diploma or GED will suffice for the vast majority of management openings.

While education requirements are typically not as strict, one prerequisite that is almost uniform is prior work experience. Retail managers will need to start as entry-level workers before being considered for management roles. The time spent 'on the floor' allows workers to improve skills such as customer service while simultaneously providing knowledge of store rules and regulations. The exact amount of time spent in an entry-level role will vary depending on the size of the store and the industry that it serves, but 6-12 months is usually the minimum required amount of experience.

Workers with experience who are looking to advance their careers can often 'transfer' their experience to a new company, but it will typically only be accepted if the industries are similar. For example, an employee can begin as a manager at a hardware store if he or she has prior experience working for a different hardware store.

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Required Skills

Managing a retail store is a complex and diverse assignment, so retail operations managers are expected to do a little bit of everything.

Primary job duties include managing employees, and this can include scheduling shifts, conducting training sessions, and managing conflicts between staff members. Other personnel management tasks may be: conducting interviews, hiring employees, and holding performance reviews.

Retail operations managers are also responsible for the upkeep of the store itself. Arranging displays, determining the store's layout, and doing constant inventory analysis are standard tasks associated with the job.

In addition to managing subordinates, managers will also need to meet goals set by their own superiors. Depending on the size of the company that operates the store, managers will need to work within the confines of budgets, meet quarterly earnings targets, and satisfy other objectives as laid out by company executives.

Career Outlook and Salary

The compensation for a retail operations manager position depends largely on the store's industry and location, as well as the experience level of the individual in question.

Payscale.com reported that the median salary for all individuals in this field as of 2018 was $55,427. The overall range, however, was $37,094 on the low end and $84,825 on the upper end of the scale.

Location is a key factor in these figures. The median salary for operations managers in New York, for example, is over $81,000, while the same figure for individuals in Los Angeles was just over $59,000.

Another important element is the experience level that a manager possesses. Entry-level managers (with 0-5 years of work experience) have an average salary of $46,000, while those with 5-10 years of experience can expect to see a bump in pay and earn an average salary of $52,000.

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