Retail Careers

Retail managers perform a nearly endless variety of tasks in supervising associates, and managing to ensure the business runs efficiently and profitably. The responsibilities of a retail manager extend to business and personnel issues and include resolving problems related to all aspects of a retail store’s daily operation, including merchandising, marketing, and training employees. Those who work in retail enjoy working with people and will do everything they can to make sure store customers are satisfied with their merchandise and their shopping experience. They will use their experience to suggest solutions and recommendations for customer needs, and place special orders when an item is out of stock. Retail managers also are called upon to handle difficult situations with professionalism, when dealing with customer complaints, returns and exchanges, or theft.

Employment Opportunities

Retail management professionals may work one of in any of the hundreds of diverse retail environments, but they are not limited to retail stores; for example, they may work at a car dealership or even outdoors, at a home and building supplies retailer.


Retail management professionals need a wide range of capabilities, including:

  • Enjoy working with customers
  • Patience
  • Problem solving ability
  • Clear communication
  • Organizational skills
  • Teaching ability

Industry Spotlight

Candidates who have retail experience—as a salesperson, cashier, or customer service representative, for example—will have the best opportunities for jobs as supervisors, especially in retail establishments. Stronger competition for supervisory jobs is expected in non-retail establishments, particularly those with the most attractive earnings and work environment.

Some of the job openings over the next decade will occur as experienced supervisors move into higher levels of management, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force. However, these job openings will not be great in number since, as with other supervisory and managerial occupations, the separation rate is low. This is the case especially for non-retail sales worker supervisors.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008