Retail Positions that Pay Well

Most well-paying jobs in retail are found in upper management positions in retail companies, though there are some other options. Learn about some of these well-paying careers, their median salaries and education requirements.

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Well-Paying Retail Career Options

There are several careers in retail that make an annual median salary greater than $50,000 and even a few that make a median salary greater than $100,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority of these well-paying careers are on the business-side of the retail industry. Compare a few of the retail positions that pay well below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Wholesale and Retail Buyers (except Farm Products) $53,340 -2% (decline)
Purchasing Managers $111,590 6%
Marketing Managers $131,180 10%
Sales Managers $117,960 7%
Fashion Designers $65,170 3%

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

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  • Merchandising and Buying
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Career Information for Retail Positions that Pay Well

Wholesale and Retail Buyers

Retail organizations may utilize wholesale and retail buyers to acquire their products, and these professionals made a median salary of $53,340 in 2016, according to the BLS. As their name implies, wholesale and retail buyers buy products, like clothing, that are then resold by retail stores to the consumer. This requires them to evaluate suppliers and work out agreements with them concerning delivery and other factors with the product, as well as monitoring contacts to ensure conditions are met. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree in business or a related field.

Purchasing Managers

Purchasing managers oversee the activities of wholesale and retail buyers in the retail industry, and the BLS reported a median salary of $111,590 in 2016 for these professionals. These managers are also responsible for hiring and training their staff and helping develop procurement procedures and policies for the organization. They may negotiate contracts and handle more complex procurements, as well as monitoring inventories and product performances in order to direct their buyers about what products are needed. Purchasing managers need a bachelor's degree and work experience in procurement.

Marketing Managers

The BLS stated that marketing managers made a median salary of $131,180 in 2016, and these professionals may work in retail to help generate consumer interest in a store's products. Marketing managers have to predict the demand for a particular product and help determine pricing strategies that match or beat competitors in the market. They also look for potential markets for the organization and usually work closely with an organization's sales and public relations staff. These managers need some work experience and at least a bachelor's degree, usually in marketing or another area of business.

Sales Managers

Most retail organizations have a sales staff that is led by a sales manager, and these professionals made a median salary of $117,960 in 2016, per the BLS. Sales managers set goals for their sales teams based on their analysis of sales statistics and the estimation of future sales. They also help develop training programs for their staff. They may help determine discount rates, set sales quotas and address any customer complaints. Sales managers typically need experience as a sales representative and a bachelor's degree.

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers made a median salary of $65,170 in 2016 (per the BLS), and although they are not typically thought of as working in retail, many fashion designers create specific clothing lines or other products for larger retail companies and chains, as well as selling their pieces to other retailers. Fashion designers oversee the entire process of making clothing, footwear and/or accessories, from creating the designs to choosing the fabric and materials and supervising the production process. These designers may display their work in fashion shows and market their designs to retailers. Fashion designers need to understand the production process of clothing, footwear and accessories and have a bachelor's degree, typically in fashion design or merchandising.

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