What Does A Retail Manager Do? (With Duties And Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 7 December 2022

Published 1 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working in retail is a career option that many people will experience and enjoy during their working years. Retail management involves many responsibilities, and there are often multiple managers sharing these duties. If you are interested in a career in retail management, you may benefit from understanding what a retail manager does. In this article, we examine what a retail manager does, discuss how to become one, and explore their work environment.

What Does A Retail Manager Do?

If you are wondering, "What does a retail manager do?", retail managers oversee the staff and operations in a store, showroom or supermarket. They are responsible for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Mitigating loss by minimising opportunities for shoplifting

  • Managing waste and keeping proper records of products coming into or leaving the store

  • Making sure employees shelve products in a way that makes sense to the consumer, so they save time while shopping for items

  • Making themselves or their sales associates available to help the customer, if needed

  • Keeping the proper quantity of stock on hand

  • Making sure the store is clean and traffic flows are intuitive and uncluttered

  • Training and managing sales staff, creating daily sales reports and maintaining cash registers

Related: What Is the Role Of A Manager?

What Skills Does A Retail Manager Need?

If you are interested in a career in retail management, consider developing the following hard and soft skills:

  • Time-management skills: Retail managers perform a wide variety of tasks in a day and interact with staff and upper management regularly. They benefit from having time-management skills to effectively schedule their tasks and monitor progress towards their goals.

  • Project management skills: As a retail manager, the projects that you may work on can be large and complex, and may involve the coordinated efforts of multiple professionals using a variety of tools. Good project management skills can help you schedule tasks, keep track of major processes and monitor progress for the overall operation.

  • Analytical skills: Retail managers may work with large volumes of data and employ strategies to gain useful insights from them. Knowing how to use the right tools for analysis can save you time and make your work more effective in this role.

  • Communication skills: Retail managers interact with a variety of professionals and customers on a regular basis. You can develop good written and verbal communication skills to excel in this role, because communication is a major part of a manager's duties.

  • Organisation skills: As a retail manager, you may oversee large teams of professionals working in one or more locations. You may also require organisation skills to effectively maintain inventory and monitor stock volumes.

  • Customer service skills: Retail managers may interact with customers to solve problems they face in a retail environment. Customer service skills enable you to provide timely and effective solutions to customers.

  • Teamwork: Managers rarely work in isolation. They benefit from having the ability to work with teams of professionals, towards a collective goal.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

How To Become A Retail Manager

Follow these steps to become a retail manager:

  1. Graduate from higher secondary school: High school graduation is the basic requirement for most managerial positions. You may pursue any stream and clear the board examination under a recognised authority.

  2. Gain retail work experience: You may not enter the workforce as a manager, but you can gain work experience in retail to improve your employability as a manager. Some common retail job roles include stocker, merchandiser, cashier and store personnel.

  3. Pursue formal education: Although not mandatory, having a professional degree in a retail-oriented discipline can greatly improve your prospects in a hiring situation. Master's degrees are rare among retail managers, but can give you a competitive edge while applying for managerial positions in large companies.

  4. Get an entry-level manager position: Entry-level managerial roles like assistant managers or department managers can be beneficial positions to start your career. After gaining managerial experience, you may become eligible for upper management positions in retail.

  5. Get promoted to store-level manager: With a few years of experience, you can apply for store manager positions in your company. If you work for a large company with many stores, make sure to track vacancies in different stores and apply to the ones that suit you best.

Careers Similar To Retail Manager

If you are interested in the role of retail manager, consider these similar careers:

  • Head cashier: The head cashier supports management by supervising cashiers, training new hires and maintaining the cash register area. They perform customer service duties, such as resolving complaints and answering questions, as well as reconciling each cash drawer at the end of each shift or day.

  • Retail assistant manager: A retail assistant manager supports the store manager by performing managerial tasks and taking over when the store manager is not present. A person in this role may be responsible for training and supervising employees, assisting in inventory management and problem-solving in the event that an employee or a customer has an issue.

  • Store manager: A store manager is responsible for the daily operations of a retail store, including managing inventory, hiring and training employees, monitoring customer returns and implementing store promotions. They may also act as a resource for customers and staff on store policies and other store information.

  • Customer service manager: Customer service managers oversee the customer care department of larger retail establishments, handling aspects of customer support. This can include answering customer questions, addressing concerns, researching an issue when necessary and communicating customer issues to store management.

  • Warehouse manager: As a retail inventory professional, a warehouse manager or merchandiser is responsible for monitoring inventory levels, reporting on inventory trends, managing the warehouse and warehouse staff, stocking shelves and creating enticing displays to encourage additional sales.

  • General manager: General managers oversee the work of several department heads and executives in a company. They may be involved in screening and recruiting employees, setting organisational targets, conducting performance evaluations and taking administrative decisions.

  • District or zone manager: In companies with a large scale of operations spanning multiple districts, states or even countries, a district or zone manager may oversee the operations of company executives and offices in a particular geographic area. They may travel frequently to perform inspections and hold meetings.

  • Human resource manager: Human resource managers or HR managers hire, train and onboard the staff of a company. They engage with matters like compensation and benefits, accounts, employee relations and personnel development.

  • IT manager: IT managers act as administrators of the information technology infrastructure of a company. They monitor a company's software, hardware and personnel needs and devise strategies for improving efficiency and productivity.

  • Brand manager: Brand managers study industry and market trends using sales data, and coordinate market research. They use their experience and knowledge of business development to promote a brand's products and increase sales.

Related: What Is A Brand Manager? Requirements And Job Description

Career Prospects In Retail Management

Post globalisation, the country has seen sudden growth and development in the retail sector with many international companies opening stores and outlets in metropolitan cities. Additionally, small and medium-sized cities are urbanising at a rapid pace and contribute a large number of job opportunities in the domain of retail. These factors indicate that retail management is a career field with gstrong prospects for the future.

As the volume of retail activity grows in the country, there may be a large demand for qualified managers with training and experience in running retail establishments. There is a wide variety in the kind of employment opportunities available for retail management professionals. They can choose to work with small or large establishments and select what scale of operations they want to manage. Moreover, they can work in any industry of their choice, as retail managers work in almost every domain.

Employment Sectors For Retail Managers

Most businesses with a manufacturing, production or sales component require the service of retail managers in their stores and outlets. These are some prominent employment sectors for retail managers:

  • Financial institutions

  • Equipment and gear manufacturers

  • Product manufacturers

  • Apparel brands

  • Trade and export firms

  • Health and beauty product companies

  • IT companies

  • Retail establishments

  • Supermarkets

  • Small and medium-scale businesses

How Much Does A Retail Manager Make?

The average base salary of a retail manager is ₹20,861 per month. This figure can increase significantly with work experience and relevant qualifications in retail management. Qualified candidates can earn promotions or switch to upper management roles like zone manager or general manager.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.


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