Sales Manager

    If you are wondering how to become a sales manager, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers within sales and retail, as well as management job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Retail managers are responsible for running retail outlets ranging from large supermarkets to small independent stores. Some managers will run a department or section, while others are responsible for the overall business success of a store.

    As a retail manager, some of your duties would depend on the type of store and whether it is independent or part of a chain. Your work could involve:

    managing and motivating staff
    making the sure that your store or department meets sales targets
    looking for ways to increase sales and improve efficiency
    managing stock levels
    analysing sales figures and forecasting future sales
    dealing with takings
    recruiting and training new staff
    being aware of competitors, market trends and customer expectations
    ensuring standards for quality, customer service and health and safety are met
    handling any customer complaints or queries
    organising special promotions, displays and events.
    You might also need to serve customers when required.

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of good retail managers include:

    be a good team leader with lots of self-motivation
    be able to communicate clearly with a variety of people at all levels
    be committed to the needs of the customer
    have strong decision making skills
    be willing to take on responsibility
    have the ability to understand relevant laws
    be comfortable with the use of information technology.

    How to become a sales manager
    To become a retail manager you do not usually need specific qualifications, although you will need to be competent in maths and IT. It is most common to be promoted to supervisor or manager in-house after you have gained experience as a sales assistant. You may also be at an advantage if you have management experience from other industries.

    You may be able to get into the retail industry through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit

    You could also join a large retail chain directly as a trainee manager, through a management training scheme. Most companies will ask you to be qualified to at least A level standard to join a management training scheme.

    When you are looking for work, you may find it useful to have a foundation degree, BTEC HNC or degree in retail management, business or a marketing-related subject. You can take a retail degree as a ‘sandwich course’, which includes a year’s work placement to give you hands-on experience.

    Training and Development
    Once you are working as a retail manager, you may be offered some in-house training if you work for a retail chain. You will also be expected to develop your management skills on the job.

    Your training may include the chance to gain work-based qualifications such as NVQ Level 2 in Retail Skills, Level 3 in Retail and Level 4 in Sales.

    Structured graduate management training schemes usually last around 18 months to two years. Larger organisations will offer a programme of ongoing training throughout your retail career.

    The Pay (a rough guide)
    Starting salaries are usually between £14,000 and £20,000 a year.
    With experience this can rise to between £21,000 and £28,000 a year.
    Some senior store managers earn £40,000 a year or more.
    You may also earn extra bonuses and commission for meeting sales targets.

    Job Prospects
    The retail sector employs around three million people, or 11% of the UK’s workforce.

    Jobs may be advertised in the local and national press, Jobcentre Plus, on employers’ own websites, in-store and on specialist recruitment websites.

    With experience, you could progress to area or regional manager if you work for a retail chain.

    Useful retail and sales resources:
    Skillsmart Retail
    Fourth Floor
    93 Newman Street
    W1T 3EZ
    Tel: 0800 093 5001

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