Retail Sales Workers Supervisor  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotRetail managers run businesses that sell products or services. They are responsible for all facets of the business.

That includes hiring and firing, managing merchandise and staff and working with suppliers. They also plan budgets, analyze sales figures and trends and set pricing and other store policies. At larger companies, these functions may be divided between managers who specialize in different areas.

dotRetail managers can work in department stores, supermarkets or car dealerships. Other possibilities are wholesale clubs and factory outlets. They sell books, furniture, clothes, food, cosmetics and novelties. Anything that is for sale needs someone to manage it.

"If you don't truly enjoy working with people, seek another career path," says Warren L. Flanigan. He has worked in various retail management positions for many years.

"The most important quality a manager must have is the ability to motivate and develop people. Many managers believe that employees must do what they ask simply because they are the boss. In reality, this form of management is short-term thinking. It does nothing for the employees' personal growth."

Jennifer Ratliff is a recruitment professional from Ohio. She specializes in placing retail managers. She says the job needs "someone who is very outgoing, very goal-oriented, dedicated and high energy. Also, someone who is flexible and patient because of the constant changes in retail."

dotWorking conditions and hours vary. They depend on where you work and what your job title is. Generally, it's 40 hours a week. But it can work out to more for many managers, especially during busy seasons. Weekends and nights are usually included.

At higher levels, Ratliff says three to four nights per week might be spent traveling. "Expect constant changes in scheduling, requirements, company goals," she says.

dotRetail managers usually have an office area within their stores. However, they spend a lot of time on the sales floor. "As a planner, 40 percent of my time is spent with my buyers, while the other 60 percent is time spent working on my own," says Rozel Gonzales. She is a merchandise planner.

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Manage merchandise and staff, plan budgets and set store policies

  • You have to like working with people
  • Managers can work in anything from department stores to car dealerships
  • A finance or accounting degree is useful