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Store Manager Job Description, Career as a Store Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training High school and on-the-job training minimum; college preferred

Salary Median—$48,880 to $57,512 per year

Employment Outlook Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Store managers are responsible for supervising employees and running their store at a profit. To attract a clientele and move merchandise, managers make sure that their store offers products and services that satisfy the needs and desires of their customers.

Store managers are employed by general merchandise stores, such as department stores and so-called "big box" stores, and by specialty stores, such as super-markets and sporting goods outlets. The duties of a manager vary with the store's structure and method of operation. Some stores are part of a chain that has a central office and branch outlets. Chain operations require general managers to oversee branch managers, who in turn oversee the managers for each of the outlets. Other stores are independently owned and operated.

The duties of store managers also depend on the size and type of store for which they work. The business aspects of a store can be divided into four categories: merchandising, which includes buying and selling; store operations, which includes hiring personnel and receiving goods; accounting and bookkeeping; and advertising and promotion. In some stores—generally independent ones—store managers are involved in all of these areas. In a small gift shop, for example, the manager may buy the merchandise, sell it to customers, and do the bookkeeping. The same manager may also train sales workers and write advertising copy.

The manager of a large store, on the other hand, is usually involved in setting policy that will be carried out by division heads. Large independent stores often divide management duties among three or four executives. A typical management team featuring division heads might consist of a store manager, an operations manager, a controller, and an advertising manager.

In chain operations managers are usually supervised by area representatives from the central office. Merchandise for all retail store outlets is purchased by a central buying office. Branch managers of outlet stores order only through this central office. Accounting for the whole chain is also handled at a central office. Store managers do their ordering and submit bookkeeping forms or sales reports electronically by computer.

Education and Training Requirements

Educational requirements for store managers vary. Managers reach their positions through years of experience in the retailing business. Positions in large, independent stores are generally the most competitive. For these top jobs in management, candidates may need a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in business administration, years of experience, and a record of success in other jobs.

The duties of a store manager vary. Some managers oversee all of a store's operations. (© Chuck Savage/Corbis.)

Chain stores often accept high school graduates into their management training programs. Many, however, prefer applicants who have college training. Trainees generally receive classroom instruction as well as on-the-job training. In many chains trainees start as assistant managers and become store managers in about one to three years.

Getting the Job

Individuals interested in eventually becoming a store manager can apply directly to the stores for which they would like to work. Public and private employment agencies, Internet job banks, and newspaper want ads list jobs for management trainees. Students looking for a job in the field may find help from their school placement office.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Some store managers advance to other management positions. Managers who work for a chain operation may become regional managers or managers of more desirable outlets within the chain. A few find executive positions in the company's headquarters.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of store managers was expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations between 2004 and 2014. Growth in the economy should lead to a growth in retailing, which will create more jobs for store managers, but the competition for these openings will be stiff.

Working Conditions

Retailing is highly competitive work. To advance, store managers must increase their stores' sales volume. Management jobs involve great responsibility and a considerable amount of prestige.

Many managers work more than forty hours a week. Management trainees working for a chain operation may be required to move frequently during the first few years of their careers.

Where to Go for More Information

National Retail Federation
325 Seventh St. NW, Ste. 1100
Washington, DC 20004
(800) 673-4692

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings for store managers vary, depending on their level of responsibility, experience, and sales volume. Specialty apparel and accessory store managers earned a median annual salary of $57,512 in 2004, and managers of general merchandise stores made $48,880 that same year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many managers receive bonuses based on their performance or participate in profit-sharing plans that can add substantially to their earnings. Benefits generally include paid holidays and vacations, life and health insurance, and retirement plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness