Retail Management: The Role of the Store Manager

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As the UK recovers from the economic downturn, more and more people are pursuing careers in the retail industry. On the high street, famous name stores are hiring staff in a variety of shop-floor sales roles. With the influx of new staff, the role of the store manager becomes more and more important to the smooth and successful running of a retail environment.

Retail management roles: what to expect.

The modern store manager role is a dynamic and exciting but given the stresses of the job, also extremely demanding. Store manager jobs may cover a variety of settings, from nationwide supermarket chains and fashion brands, to small, boutique independent stores - each environment presents its own set of challenges.

Beyond a skill for the challenges of retail, store managers need to possess a range of abilities - including being excellent communicators, technicians and mathematicians. Store managers are responsible not only for the success of the store and its profits, but also its personnel and the image of the company in a public context. General store manager duties typically involve:

  • Recruiting and training new employees and ensuring all members of store staff are contributing efficiently and effectively.
  • Meeting company targets and earning profits - identifying ways to avoid loss.
  • Managing the assets of the store, including taking stock inventory and ensuring sufficient safety and security measures are in place.
  • Maintaining a day to day presence in the store to tackle problems and provide a focus point for employees and customers.

Career Development

For those planning a career in retail, the store manager position is a great stepping stone into wider industry roles. To strengthen their presence in the retail landscape, most companies seek to advance their best personnel through the ranks - while taking on more suitable employees. With this in mind, many companies have developed their own internal career development initiatives, to help their staff get the most out of their role and move their careers in the direction they desire. While some sort of academic qualification may be an advantage, lots of career retail roles and management positions can be achieved through an employee's personal success and contribution to their company.

Choosing a path

Depending on the nature, size and industry area of a store, the normal career track of a manager will see progression from an entry store position to a larger store - quite possibly in another area of the country. A willingness to travel is an advantage to store managers seeking to advance their career - their expertise may be crucial to improving locations in every part of the country. Many companies offer university graduates a specific career-path into management and senior positions via schemes which cover all sales areas of a store.

Store managers can expect to see career progress within three to five years - aiming for senior positions, like line manager or regional manager. Even further along the career path, employees can enter into national management and even director roles. For those who want to focus on a specific area of retail, head office roles may be more suitable: managers may bring considerable practical experience into areas such as buying, merchandising, customer service, training, PR and operations.

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