How to Become a Retail Store Manager

Retail Store Manager Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $113,350
Avg. Pay / hour $54.50
Education 1-3 Years
Job Outlook 3.8%

A retail store manager oversees the day to day operations of a retail store.

Their job consists of monitoring stock levels, supervising employees, as well as looking after the financial performance of a store.

They may also serve customers and handle any complaints.

If you are a good problem solver, like to work with people, are able to multitask, and want to work in a challenging and busy environment, then you might like to become a retail store manager.

It’s a job where you are responsible for the big picture, but you won’t get this right unless you have a knack for the small details.

Making sure the store runs smoothly, as well as profitably can be more difficult than it sounds.

Education Requirements to Become a Retail Store Manager

While you don’t need a formal degree or qualification to become a retail store manager, many who work for high end department stores have a bachelor degree in business administration, or a retail management degree.

If you decide to go down this path, you will be well regarded by employers further in your career.

Many retail store manager work their way up from the bottom.

With many large organizations having a policy to promote from within, this is also an ideal way to become a retail store manager.

Working in a rage of different positions will give you a good understanding of how the store functions across different levels.

There are often recruiters and human resources officers working in retail stores looking for the right person to promote.

It’s a good idea to always take any training your company offers you.

Another good way to help your career along is to study at night, or in your free time, particularly if you do not have a college degree.

There are many programs at community college that could help you, and some companies even run their own in-house training programs for those that are interested.

Retail Manager Job Description

When you become a retail store manager you will have a very wide range of duties.

Sometimes your role will be hands on, for instance you could be stocking shelves or dealing with a customer.

At others you could find yourself spending time at a desk, compiling reports and rosters, and balancing accounts.

If you’re looking for variety, then this is a good career choice.

Here are some of the common tasks of a retail store manager:

  • Recruiting, hiring, and training staff
  • Payroll
  • Monitoring employee performance
  • Supervising contractors, such as security staff
  • Ensuring the store is clean
  • Monitoring stock levels
  • Making sure the store reaches performance goals
  • Setting budgets
  • Communicating with staff and superiors

It’s unlikely that two days will ever be the same working as a store manager.

New challenges will always appear, that is part of what makes this job so rewarding.

It’s important to note that when you become a retail store manager you may need to work some odd hours, including weekends and holidays.

Retail Manager Salary and Career Path

Most retail store managers begin their career in entry level positions, then work they way up to supervisory roles.

They are often selected for their drive, leadership, and problem solving ability to be trained as managers.

Many undergo post-secondary education which will hasten their progression up the career ladder.

Many move on later to work as sales managers, in advertising or marketing, as board executives, or in a consulting role.

Here are some similar jobs to a retail store manager:

  • Advertising executive
  • Marketing executive
  • Chief executive officer
  • Sales Manager
  • Purchasing Agent
  • Administrative service manager
  • Food service manager
  • Hotel manager

While the salary of a retail store manager can vary quite a lot depending on the type of store they manage, the median salary for a large retail store manager is around $68,000.

The top 10% of managers can take home more than $130,000 a year.

Most store managers earn a salary, as well as a bonus or commission on top which is based on performance.

If you are look for a role in a challenging and always changing environment, then you might like to become a retail store manager.

For those that are ambitious, this is a good chance to hold and executive job that brings in a good salary.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$156,010
New Hampshire$119,480
New Jersey$164,670
New Mexico$107,260
New York$144,830
North Carolina$117,130
North Dakota$97,470
Rhode Island$135,160
South Carolina$94,700
South Dakota$129,370
West Virginia$86,500
Puerto Rico$77,840
Virgin Islands$88,600

The top earning state in the field is New Jersey, where the average salary is $164,670.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New Jersey - $164,670
District of Columbia - $156,010
Delaware - $148,920
New York - $144,830
Massachusetts - $141,840
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for General and Operations Managers, OCC Code 11-1021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a retail store manager do?

Retail store managers have to be able to manage every aspect of a retail store (staff, stock, sales…).

A retail store manager usually has plenty of subordinates that help him or her in managing the store (supervisors, key holders, assistant managers, and so on).

The manager is responsible for hiring and training the staff; ensuring that the store is operating effectively; dealing with customers; meeting sales goals by offering promotions, setting quotas for the employees, etc.; keeping the staff motivated…

Every decision of a retail store manager will affect the company, so the professional has to be well-trained, be able to make decisions fast, be able to handle stress, and have amazing communication skills.

How much do retail store managers make?

On average a retail store manager earns a little more than $30.000 in the United States.

Typically, retail store managers can expect to earn anywhere between $26.000 and $45.700 per year.

In case you are just getting started, you can make about $12.70 per hour.

Those retail store managers that have plenty of experience can earn over $21.

The salary would certainly depend on the geographical location, the size of the company, and whether or not the retail store manager is able to meet sales goals.

The states with the highest salaries for the position include Rhode Island, Connecticut, District of Columbia, and New Jersey.

How much does it cost to become a retail store manager?

Many people start from working on the sales floor of a retail store and then getting promoted to a manager.

However, some might become retail store managers after obtaining a business administration degree.

A year in a university will cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $30.000 depending on whether or not you are an in-state student, whether the university is private or public, and on the overall prestige of the school.

What is the demand for retail store managers?

Between 2016 and 2026, the retail store manager job market is expected to grow by 3.8%.

The employment opportunities for the near future are not amazing.

The retail industry is becoming more and more Internet-based.

Of course, there is no need for retail store managers in online stores.

The retail manager industry, however, is concentrated in Florida, California, and Texas.

How long does it take to become a retail store manager?

In case you decide to go for a bachelor’s degree, it will take you four years to obtain one.

If you start as a salesperson in a retail store, you might get promoted to a manager in a few years, if you manage to show superb results.

Some prefer to join an apprenticeship program.

Such programs offer on-job experience, as well as training, and usually last for 1-3 years.

There also are retailers that offer special trainee management programs.

After completing the program, you will be officially hired and you will have the opportunity to further develop your retail knowledge.

Those might take you only a few months to complete.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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