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The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Store Manager

Published on: 16 Nov 2017
store manager

If you’ve ever wandered around your favourite clothes or gift shop and pictured yourself working behind the till – or better yet, managing the place - you’ve probably also considered what experience you might need to land yourself a job in retail.

While a career in the industry does come with a few downsides (having to work over the Christmas period, being just one), there are all sorts of perks to be enjoyed after becoming a shop manager. One of the biggest – and probably most tempting – is the discounts you can bag, with some luckier shop workers enjoying up to 60% off goods and services.

But of course, many of you reading this won’t be interested in a career in retail for the discounts alone. If you’d like to progress within your job, you’ll find that there are plenty of opportunities to do so when you work in a shop or department store, with training programmes and courses on offer for those willing to put the time in. Those starting out as a shop assistant, for example, can work their way up to becoming a store manager if they have the drive and determination.

Want to know more? We’ve compiled this guide, which tells you everything you need to know about becoming a store manager or retail manager. In it, we’ve covered everything from expected salaries to the training required to land a job in this sector. Read on…

What is a Store Manager?

  • Job Description

    What does a store manager do? If you bag a role working in a shop, it’ll be your duty to oversee the day-to-day operation of the store.

    You’ll also be in charge of ensuring the business is running smoothly and/or meeting its sales goals and demands. From maintaining good staff discipline and team morale to ensuring good customer service is delivered at all times, your role will be varied and interesting.

    Of course, you’ll never be out of work if you train in retail. With a row of shops to every major high street – and other, smaller shops, on most street corners – the possibilities are almost endless once you have the necessary training and skills under your belt.

  • Hours of Work

    As a department store manager or retail manager, you’ll usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week. The downside of the role is you might be expected to work evenings and some weekends, but the job is never dull; you’ll divide your time between the shop floor and an office.

  • Main Responsibilities

    So, what will be your main responsibilities as a shop manager? First and foremost, it’ll be your job to boost sales of the company, with day-to-day tasks including anything from managing and motivating a team to overseeing and taking an active role in recruiting new team members.

    Other duties in your role as a shop manager might include:

    • Ordering and monitoring stock
    • Organising sales promotions
    • Organising in-store events
    • Dealing with complaints and queries
    • Responding to customer feedback
    • Forecasting the shop’s future sales by analysing sales figures
    • Maintaining budgets
    • Providing reports to company executives

Key Marketing Manager Qualifications

No degree? Don’t worry; a degree isn’t a necessary requirement for those looking to become a shop manager.

That said, you will be a more attractive candidate if you have any relevant qualifications. If, for example, you’ve studied a business management course, this will go down well on your application for the role.

store manager

Vital Store Manager Skills

What kind of skills will you need to excel in the role? Here are just a few:

  • Good motivational skills
  • Great leadership and morale-boosting skills
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Confidence
  • Enthusiasm
  • Passion
  • Good business sense
  • The ability to go above and beyond in the name of great customer service
  • The ability to make decisions, particularly when under pressure
  • Maths – the ability to analyse sales figures and act on them

What is a Store Manager's Salary?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty…

While the starting salary for store management roles can be as low as £20,000, you could find yourself on £30,000 with a few years in the position. The experienced store manager can earn from £35,000 to £45,000, while the highly experienced can take home up to £70,000 a year.

Larger companies and stores tend to offer a larger salary and you will also find that you can take home extra each month via bonuses for meeting sales targets.

store manager

How To Become a Store Manager

Have you ever wondered how you might go about becoming a store manager?

There are several ways, yet the main route people take is via a promotion.

You might, for example, take a job as a retail assistant and work your way up the retail ladder to eventually become the shop’s manager. Prior to the role, you might be a supervisor, in charge of a specific department, or a whole floor of a large shop.

You might also enter the profession following a management job in a related job area. Many store managers, though, will complete a graduate trainee management scheme in order to learn the ropes, before taking on the position as store manager.

Apprenticeship schemes are also available for those who want to make their way into the industry. On top of this, any customer service-related courses or qualifications are a bonus when it comes to branching out in retail management.

Want to become a store manager? Here’s an at-a-glance look at what you can do to help yourself on the road to a new career:

  • Research! – Talking to people you know in the position you’re after is really the best way to go about bagging a job in the long-run. Researching your dream position – by using the internet or via word of mouth – will stand you in good stead when it comes to understanding the ins and outs of the position and what you’ll need to do to land a role in the sector.

  • Start Somewhere – Most people start from the bottom as a retail assistant and work their way up. If your goal is to become a store manager, find any job in the retail industry and put your heart and soul into it. Now, you’ll be in a great position to eventually move up the store’s hierarchy as and when you’re ready to. Why not consider asking someone in a senior position to be your retail mentor? You can ask them any questions you have and learn from them as you go, too.

  • Consider Courses – While a good level of formal education will certainly go a long way to bagging you the retail job of your dreams, it’s also important that you put your all into signing up for any complimentary courses too. If your customer service skills could do with a polish, think about how you can improve them. Can you work in a charity shop on a voluntary basis, perhaps? This will give you a great opportunity to experience liaising with the public and rectifying their concerns. If a lack of confidence is putting you off applying for a new role, putting some part-time hours in on a voluntary basis may help give you a nudge in the right direction.


Quick Career Tip

  • We can’t stress enough how important your previous experience will be in the hiring process. When writing your CV, make sure you add in anything and everything that’s relevant to the position and company. Ensure the words jump off the page – after all, if you can’t sell yourself, the employer won’t have much confidence in your ability to sell the brand’s services or products.

How To Develop Your Store Manager Career

Anyone starting out in a new role will want to know a few key things before taking the plunge.

The first will be the salary; the next might be hours or commuting distance from your home. The third? Possibility of progression to a senior management role later down the line. For many people, fair scope for progression could be a deal-breaker when they get around to considering their next big job opportunity.

In retail, then, what opportunities are there to eventually end up in a higher paid role? You could find that you could progress into area or regional management, which will mean you’re responsible for overseeing several branches locally.

If this route doesn’t take your fancy, you might decide to move into a specialist area. This could include customer service roles, training or even operations management. The key here is discovering what you love about your retail management job – a specific process, perhaps - and ensuring you can carry some of those responsibilities over to your new career.

Worked hard in retail? An area management role is the next logical step. It will help scratch an itch if you’re looking for a bigger and more rewarding challenge and it may mean more travelling. This is ideal if the predominantly office-based set-up of a store management role is making you pine for a job that offers a little more variety.

Whether you decide to go down the area management route or stay put, you’ll never be bored working in the retail industry. Most your time at work will be spent boosting the morale of a team, and this could be within a local store or throughout the country. Be prepared to put the hours in driving up and down the UK. There will certainly be more scope to meet people in a job like this, since you’ll be responsible for senior managers and department managers, too.

Intrigued? Take a look around the Leisure Jobs site for suitable roles.

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