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Retail Department Manager Duties and Responsibilities

While a retail department manager’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:

Manage and Supervise Retail Staff Retail department managers supervise and coordinate activities of staff. They interview job applications and also evaluate staff performance. In addition, they work with senior management to carry out hiring, firing, and retention efforts of employees. They plan, shift schedules, delegate responsibility, and keep their pulse on any disciplinary issues.

Merchandise Store Layout and Signage Since product display is essential for retail sales, retail department managers make sure that everything is properly placed within their department. When merchandise goes on sale, managers put up signs to allow customers to see which items are discounted. They often delegate this task to junior associates. Retail department managers also make sure that signage is taken down once it is no longer relevant.

Train New Employees Retail department managers are responsible for educating individual workers on their job responsibilities. They make sure employees are trained to stock merchandise, engage customers, process retail orders, and are aware of company policies. Retail department managers plan shift schedules and delegate responsibilities to staff in order to help relieve some of the intense pressures of their position.

Oversee Customer Service Retail managers are responsible for the majority of customer service activities that take place within their department. They keep a watchful eye on checkout lines to make sure they are not too congested and delegate employees as needed to make sure all customer services needs are attended to.

Inventory Control When stores receive new merchandise from vendors, retail department managers are responsible for checking items in for inventory. They log products, pricing, and invoices according to store operating procedures. Retail department managers help prevent theft by keeping products organized and accounted for.


Retail Department Manager Skills and Qualifications

Retail department managers should have outstanding customer service skills and team leadership ability. Employers seek candidates with two to three years of retail supervisory experience and the following skills:

  • Sales skills – department managers are responsible for monitoring sales numbers and driving new sales opportunities
  • Merchandising knowledge – retail department managers use creativity and knowledge of design trends to position products in visually appealing ways that attract customer attention
  • Leadership experience – retail department managers provide management direction for staff, peers, and junior associates
  • Customer service skills – listening to customer complaints, evaluating returned merchandise, and resolving any other problems that arise is essential for retail department managers
  • Physical stamina – the ability to lift boxes, stand for long periods of time, stretch, and climb are all needed for retail department managers
  • Communication skills – retail department managers constantly use written and verbal communication to fulfill their tasks
  • Organizational skills – keeping people, products, and processes organized is an essential skill for retail department mangers

Retail Department Manager Education and Training

There are no official minimum educational requirements for retail department managers. However, most employers prefer candidates to have a high school diploma or GED. Employers look for candidates to have two to three years of retail management experience or supervisory experience. Certain educational courses such as accounting, fashion, and marketing may be a beneficial in certain retail sectors.


Retail Department Manager Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of retail department managers is $38, 550. The lowest ten percent of earners make less than $24,780. However, the highest ten percent of department managers make more than $66,120 per year. The BLS predicts that retail industry employment with grow two percent through 2026, which is slower than average for all occupations. Their employment rate generally tracks with the overall economy.


Helpful Resources

There are many helpful resources out there for those interested in becoming a retail department manager. Check out these links that are full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news.

Retail Management: A Strategic Approach (11th Edition) – be equipped with the skills you need to be a retail decision-maker, so you can thrive in your career as a retail department manager

The First-Time Manager – this book is the ultimate guide for anyone starting a career in retail management and covers essential skills such as hiring and firing, leadership, time management, work politics, and more

The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace – retail industry experts Robin Lewis and Michael Dart cover the ins and outs of retail success and outline in-depth case studies of the world’s most successful retail operations

The Retail Management Formula: A Navigational Guide To Consistently Effective Retail Management – this must-have book for retail department managers features step-by-step instructions and real-life illustrations to help new managers drive consistent results in their departments

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) – a national association of retail industry leaders focused on improving the industry

Retail Management Certificate – a nationally recognized, accredited college program developed by retail industry experts to prepare employees for positions in management