How do I Become a Retail Store Manager?

D. Jeffress

Retail store managers perform many essential functions to ensure that businesses run smoothly. They train and oversee employees, acquire and price items, and ensure quality customer service. The requirements to become a retail store manager can vary based on the size of a company and its specific policies. Some store owners prefer to internally promote retail workers to managerial roles, while others bring in outside managers who have obtained college degrees. An individual who wants to become a store manager can search job listings in newspapers and online to find out about specific requirements.

Retail store managers typically have significant experience in the retail industry.
Retail store managers typically have significant experience in the retail industry.

A person who wants to become a retail store manager can improve his or her chances of finding work by developing important personal and technical skills. A successful manager generally is able to give clear directions to employees and help them identify ways they can improve their performance. He or she makes decisions about the layout of store merchandise, prices, promotions, and inventory to improve sales figures. Computer skills are very important for a retail store manager since records about schedules, sales, and ordering information are filed electronically in most modern businesses.

Managers at retail stores often circulate the sales floor, providing customer service and resolving any questions or disputes.
Managers at retail stores often circulate the sales floor, providing customer service and resolving any questions or disputes.

Many small businesses and some large corporations will grant store manager positions to successful employees. Cashiers, inventory clerks, and other retail workers can become managers after gaining experience and showing strong leadership skills. An employee who wants to become a retail store manager should investigate his or her store's policies regarding promotions and ask managers for tips on advancing within the company.

Many jobs are listed in local newspaper classifieds.
Many jobs are listed in local newspaper classifieds.

A bachelor's degree in business administration can be very helpful in landing jobs at larger corporations. Classes in accounting and management provide students with a solid foundation of business principles and techniques. By speaking with professors and guidance counselors at a school, an individual may be able to obtain helpful leads about job opportunities.

Store managers might own their own store.
Store managers might own their own store.

Available positions at retail stores can be found by browsing newspaper classified ads and Internet job search sites. Most ads clearly outline the education and experience requirements for the position, so an individual can determine whether or not they are qualified. Ads also explain how to apply for jobs, perhaps by filling out an application in person or submitting an electronic resume. A retail store manager resume should include relevant work experience in customer service and supervisory roles, as well as volunteer work and personal goals. A solid, honest resume can help to secure an interview.

During an interview to become a retail store manager, an individual can improve his or her chances of being selected by being respectful and friendly. The interviewee should be prepared to answer questions about previous experiences in other jobs and what he or she can offer to the company. By being confident and honest during the interview, an individual can better their chances of getting the job.

Store managers usually gain customer experience working as a cashier.
Store managers usually gain customer experience working as a cashier.

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Discussion Comments


Most store managers, district managers and directors started their careers on the front lines. There are many ways to get a store management position. The first thing you need is a job in a retail environment so that you can learn the skills needed to manager a store.

Larger companies will have in-house training departments that will enhance your skill set. Making the transition from assistant to manager can be the toughest promotion to get, as many people in these positions are overlooked when a management position becomes available.

If you would like to take control of your training yourself you could opt to take some courses and ramp up your resume yourself.


@Latte31 -I think that it is easy to get a retail sales job. I had a friend who got a retail sales job working behind the cosmetic counter for a well know cosmetic brand and she ended up working for the cosmetic line as an Education Manager which is really a trainer position.

She was able to conduct product and sales training seminars for all of the consultants. Her outstanding personal sales figures really are what put her in the running for this position.

Usually successful people that work behind the counter become counter managers before going on to a position within the cosmetic line or a combination of both.

When you work behind the counter you get visits from the representatives from the cosmetic line as well as the Account Coordinator that represents the line and the department store. There are many career paths within the field of retail you just have to decide which path to take.


@Sunny27 - I wanted to say that some people begin their career in a retail merchandising job and then get promoted from there.

Merchandising is critical for inventory turnover and overall profitability of the store. Adhering to merchandise standards really help to make the department and the overall merchandise displays more appealing.

A merchandise manager has to make sure that all of the stock is on the sales floor and it is appropriately priced. Merchandise that has to be marked down needs to be marked and signed with a clearance sign in order to sell off this merchandise in order for the store to get fresher and newer merchandise.

Once a merchandise manager has been successful running a few departments within a department store they can then move on to either the buying office and become and assistant buyer and then a buyer, so simply continue the store management track and eventually become a store manager.


@Sunshine31 - I know that many large retail chains will hire management trainees from college. These people go through a brief orientation and training program and then begin their jobs as a manager of a specific department.

Many stores require department managers to work within all of the departments of the store before they are eligible for store manager positions. For example, at Publix Supermarkets, the stock personnel has to have experience ordering and stocking all of the departments within the store before they are considered for a management position.

This is to ensure that the members of management are well rounded and can help employees with stock problems as well as help customers with problems regarding products that they would like to see or offer an overall improvement in merchandise assortment of the store.


I think that if a person is looking for a retail management job, they can apply directly for a department manager position if they have a bachelor’s degree, or if they have had previous management experience.

Many of the people that go on to manage an entire store and become a retail shop manager got their job with previous management experience. There are many successful retail service employees that move up within the company and enter the management staff. I think that key is to demonstrate leadership and a strong work ethic because people that have retail management jobs work way more than forty hours a week.

The long hours and constant weekend work are the main cons of this profession and anyone considering having a retail management career must come to terms with that.

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