Retail Manager

Job Description:

Retail managers look after the day-to-day running of a store, motivating staff to achieve sales targets, organising promotional events and monitoring industry trends.

Job Category:
Retail & Consumer

What you will do:

Your main focus will be to improve the commercial performance of the store by increasing its turnover and maximising sales.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • managing and motivating teams to increase sales
  • overseeing recruitment and training of staff
  • keeping track of stock and ordering
  • organising sales promotions and in-store events
  • dealing with queries, complaints and feedback from customers
  • analysing sales figures and forecasting future sales
  • maintaining awareness of market trends and monitoring competitors
  • controlling budgets and costs
  • providing reports to senior company executives


You’ll need:

  • budgeting knowledge and the ability to understand and analyse sales figures
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • leadership skills
  • excellent communication and ‘people’ skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • organisational skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Retail Manager, you don’t need specific subjects, but a good general education and certain skills are valuable for this role. Retail Managers are responsible for overseeing the operations of retail stores, managing staff, and ensuring the store meets its sales and customer service goals. Here are some subjects and skills that can be advantageous:

  1. Mathematics: Strong math skills are crucial for tasks such as managing budgets, analysing sales data, and pricing products.
  2. Business Studies: Business studies can provide you with foundational knowledge of business concepts, including retail management, marketing, and financial management.
  3. Economics: While not always available, economics courses can offer valuable insights into market trends and consumer behaviour.
  4. English: Effective communication skills are essential for dealing with customers, managing staff, and preparing reports.
  5. IT/Computer Science: Proficiency with computer software and data analysis tools is important for tasks such as inventory management and sales analysis.
  6. Design and Technology: Understanding product presentation, visual merchandising, and quality standards is valuable for managing the store’s appearance and product quality.
  7. Geography: Some retailers may have location-based considerations, so knowledge of geography can be an asset.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • a company training scheme

You could do a degree before applying to join an organisation’s management training scheme. Most subjects are accepted but you may have an advantage if you study:

  • business retail management
  • retail marketing

It’s useful to gain some experience in retail during your studies. You can do this through part-time retail jobs, internships and year placement schemes.

Your university careers service can help you find suitable opportunities.

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. In the UK, relevant subjects include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills Management
  • Level 4 Diploma in Retail Management

You could start off in a retail team leader advanced apprenticeship and work your way up, or do a retail manager higher apprenticeship or retail leadership degree apprenticeship.

You may be able to start as a retail sales assistant and work your way up through promotion to supervisor or department manager.

You could also get into this job by switching from a managerial post in a related industry like customer service. You would be given training in retail to build on your existing management experience.

Other Routes
Many national retailers run trainee management schemes. Some will be for people with a suitable degree.

These combine training and mentoring with work placements in different parts of the business to develop your retail knowledge, skills and leadership qualities.


Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll normally work between 37 and 40 hours a week, often including weekends and some evenings.

You’ll divide your time between the sales area and your office in the store.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could progress into area or regional management.

You could also move into more specialist areas, like customer service, training and operations management.