Store Manager Job Description - Skills, Duties, Requirements and Career
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Store Manager Job Description
A store manager (also called a retail manager) is the person responsible for running a retail outlet. Store Managers are in charge of every aspect of the day-to-day operation of their store, including the supervision of all store personnel. They typically report to a general manager or area manager.
But what does the job of a store manager actually involve?
Essentially, store managers are responsible for a store’s financial performance, for coordinating and supervising all store personnel and for overseeing all of the activities that take place in the store.
Obviously, one of a store manager’s most important tasks is managing a store’s finances. All stores are set sales targets as well as a series of other business objectives by company management. The store manager’s job is to ensure the store meets its sales and profit targets. This involves collating and analyzing sales data and monitoring the store’s KPI (key performance indicators), which show how well (or badly) it is performing.
By analyzing the sales data and KPI, a store manager can evaluate the performance of his or her sales team and identify strategies for enhancing sales. These might include promotions and special offers, advertising campaigns, and staff bonuses and incentives linked to sales targets.
Another key aspect of the job of a Store Manager is managing the people who work in the store. Store managers in fact have a large number of human resource-related responsibilities, including ensuring that a store has sufficient staff to be fully operational, publishing job advertisements, running recruitment campaigns, managing shift scheduling and holiday planning and using the various tools and resources at their disposal to motivate and develop workers.
Store managers are also responsible for ensuring that their staff - e.g. sales assistants, replenishment assistants, counter assistants, checkout operators and department managers - receive the training necessary to carry out their work successfully.
An important aspect of staff training is customer service, which is a key success factor in the retail business. From the welcome greeting received by customers on their arrival in a store, through to handling complaints and returns, and providing purchasing advice, retail staff need to be taught how they can encourage repeat business by providing customers with impeccable customer service.
Finally, store managers are responsible for coordinating and directing all store activities. For example, they ensure that merchandise is effectively displayed and that the store is clean and tidy and fully stocked. They are also in charge of setting a store’s pricing strategy, liaising with suppliers, monitoring stock levels and checking that returns of damaged goods are handled according to procedure. Another key area of the store manager’s remit is ensuring that all applicable health and hygiene and workplace safety regulations are adhered to and that staff follow all company regulations. In some cases, store managers may also perform store opening and closing duties and check the daily receipts. In the event of any non-routine incidents or issues, such as a customer complaint or a delivery delay, the store manager is required to take prompt action to resolve the situation as efficiently as possible.
All retail outlets - whether they are independent businesses or chain stores - operating in all retail sectors (fashion, footwear, food, home improvement, sportswear, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, eyewear, telephones, electrical appliances etc.) and regardless of size (i.e. including department stores, mass merchandisers and supermarkets) need a store manager overseeing operations at their helm.
Of course, the responsibilities of a store manager vary depending on the type of store. In stores that belong to a retail chain or that are part of a franchise, store managers are typically obliged to comply with a series of rules and directives handed down by the parent company or franchisor. For example, they may be required to uphold a brand image or preserve distinctive brand elements that ensure that the brand’s stores are immediately recognizable, or else to provide specific standards of customer service. However, within these constraints, store managers have ample scope to use their managerial skills to develop a store’s business.
The job of a store manager is fast-paced, with working hours typically following the opening hours of the store and including, in many cases, both weekends and public holidays. Business trips are infrequent, since store managers generally only leave their stores to meet with company management of for professional training purposes.
Store Manager: Responsibilities and Tasks
The tasks of a store manager include:
- Managing the store’s financial performance and coordinating and directing all store activities
- Monitoring a store’s sales figures
- Producing periodic reports tracking performance indicators
- Selecting and training up store personnel
- Motivating and incentivizing sales staff through effective policies and initiatives
- Effectively managing inventory and stock replenishment
- Ensuring that the store is always kept clean, tidy and orderly
Store managers of chain stores and single brand retail outlets are also responsible for ensuring that their store operates in alignment with the brand concept (e.g. brand image, policies and guidelines, key values, service levels etc.).
How to Become a Store Manager - Education, Training and Requirements
Store managers require a broad range of skills, including a knowledge of marketing and sales techniques, human resources management, accounting and organizational planning. Also essential is extensive knowledge of the retail segment in which the store operates and an understanding of the company’s distinctive competencies and core capabilities. For this reason, store manager roles are often filled by candidates who have risen up through the ranks, starting out in a junior role such as sales assistant within the same store or chain.
Many large retail and supermarket chains offer training courses for people interested in pursuing a career in store management. Trainee store managers attending such courses typically receive a blend of classroom-based lessons in managerial and organizational theory and practical on-the-job training.
Store Manager Skills and Qualifications
A successful store manager should have the following skills:
- Organizational and planning abilities
- Leadership skills
- Sales skills
- Result-focused mentality
- Ability to take decisions
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Dynamic attitude and sense of initiative
- Ability to cope well with stress
Store Manager Career Path
Successful candidates for a position as store manager will often have previous experience in the retail sales sector as a sales assistant or department manager and may even have held an “intermediate” position, such as deputy store manager or trainee store manager.
Subsequent career development opportunities for store managers include moving to a store management role at a larger or newly-opened store. Store managers looking for fresh challenges within the same company may be obliged to move, as it is fairly unusual for a retail chain or brand to have more than one outlet in a single town or geographical area.
Alternative career advancement options for store manager include becoming an area manager, with responsibility for coordinating all of the stores in a specific geographical area (e.g. a region, country, or even an international area).
Top Reasons to Work as a Store Manager
Why should you consider working as a Store Manager?
The role of a store manager is a demanding, but ultimately very rewarding one. Store managers have a great amount of responsibility, since their decisions have a direct impact on a store’s financial performance and this responsibility is reflected in the excellent salary packages on offer. The job - which is at times fast-paced but certainly never dull - involves managing a store’s finances, organizing its activities and coordinating its personnel and is also an excellent opportunity to develop a range of soft skills, including leadership, organizational and communication abilities.