Retail manager

Is responsible for every aspect of the day-to-day supervision of retail outlets, including sales, staff, stock and resources management.

Job description

Retail managers manage retail outlets, or groups of outlets, and are responsible for all the day-to-day processes that are carried out in the store. Their responsibilities will vary greatly depending on the size of the store and can cover areas such as human resources, information technology, marketing and accounts.

Smaller retailers may combine buying and merchandising roles in a general retail management position.

Work activities

  • Recruiting, training, managing and motivating staff to ensure efficiency and to increase sales.
  • Daily management of staff, including completing and checking rotas, holding regular meetings and briefing the team on new products and promotions.
  • Promoting brands and auditing the performance of key product lines.
  • Analysing daily, weekly and monthly sales figures to ensure branch profitability.
  • Ensuring that new stock is ordered, received in time and that it is put on display as required.
  • Ensuring that premises and service levels are maintained to company standards.
  • Dealing with customer complaints.
  • Ensuring the safety and security of staff and customers.
  • Ensuring compliance with all health, safety and legal requirements.

Work conditions

Travel: not a normal feature of the job, although geographic mobility is essential for area managers.
Working hours: can involve regular unsocial hours including weekends, evenings and bank holidays.
Location: mainly in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: possible for owner managers.

Typical employers

  • Large department stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Chain stores specialising in particular products (eg electrical goods, fashion outlets)
  • Bookshops
  • Craft shops
  • Gift shops
  • Newsagents
  • Home improvements/DIY stores
  • Furniture and home furnishings shops.

Career development

Opportunities for progression are good. Initially you could progress to managing larger departments or moving to a bigger store, and then move up to a store manager position. While it takes time, it is possible to move into senior management positions and specialist areas such as area management and head office positions such as customer relations or buying.


Salaries will vary depending on employer. Non-pay benefits such as commission on sales, performance related bonuses, in-store and cross-store discounts or company cars can top up basic salary considerably.
Republic of Ireland: Salaries for graduates average €23,000–€25,000.
Northern Ireland: Salaries for graduates average £18,000–£20,000.

Entry requirements

Open to non graduates and graduates of all disciplines.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Administration
  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Retail management

Postgraduate study

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not usually required.


Mainly on-the-job training. Some large retailers offer graduate development programmes.

Tips for application

Part-time and vacation work as a sales assistant is an advantage.

Skills and qualities

  • Commercial acumen
  • Customer focus
  • Ability to delegate
  • Teamworking, motivational and leadership skills
  • Numeracy and IT skills
  • Ability to prioritise and multitask
  • Verbal and written communication skills, and ability to project a suitable image to the public
  • Ability to use initiative, especially with customers
  • Attention to detail.