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How to Become a Store Manager

If you have proven leadership skills, you are an excellent communicator, and you have management experience, you might be a perfect fit for a career as a store manager. 

A store manager oversees the operations of a store. You will assign responsibilities, hire and train new employees, maintain work schedules, and delegate tasks to ensure the store runs smoothly and efficiently. Store managers also create business strategies, monitor budgetary spending, enforce rules and procedures, and ensure a safe, stable work environment. You must resolve problems and issues that arise with employees, merchandise, and customers. 

As a store manager, you must have excellent customer service skills, be extremely organized, and be good motivators. Good communication skills, both verbal and written, are essential to succeed as a store manager. You must be able to communicate effectively with employees, vendors, and customers while maintaining a professional manner. You will also prepare sales and budget reports and oversee the financial records. A good understanding of business management and best practices is required.

Sample job description

Do you have experience managing multiple employees? [Your company name] is looking to fill the role of store manager at our location. Are you well organized and good at managing a team of colleagues? Do you like the responsibility of creating work schedules, taking inventory, placing orders, and assisting customers in their shopping needs? If so, you might be interested in being a store manager for our fast-paced and busy store! The position of store manager is a high-pressure job while being extremely rewarding. You will be tasked with hiring and managing employees, making sure the store runs smoothly, and fulfilling upper management about the daily tasks.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Recruiting new hires
  • Interviewing applicants
  • Hiring and training new employees
  • Reprimanding and firing staff, if necessary
  • Providing ongoing training for employees
  • Setting sales target expectations for sales associates
  • Managing loss prevention 
  • Aiding in the creation of advertising campaigns and store promotions
  • Maintaining an organized store 
  • Working closely with the assistant manager to perform necessary tasks

Education and experience

  • High school diploma
  • Bachelor’s degree in a business field
  • Previous retail experience, preferably in the capacity of supervisor

Required skills and qualifications

  • Extensive knowledge of budgeting to ensure store’s profitability
  • Possess accounting and finance skills to ensure proper financial record upkeep
  • Marketing knowledge
  • Effective leadership skills and ability to motivate others
  • Knowledge of promotional strategies 
  • Customer focus
  • Able to grasp new concepts quickly and apply them efficiently

Preferred qualifications

  • Significant experience in the retail industry
  • Training from the National Retail Federation
  • Strong leadership and customer management abilities
  • Impeccable organizational skills 
  • Customer service oriented

Typical work environment

The typical work environment for a store manager is in a retail store setting. While they may occasionally have to travel for training, these instances are rare. The pace of the individual store depends on a few variables. Namely how densely populated the location of the store is, how many of those same stores are within a certain radius, and what type of retail store it is. Even in the least busy store locations, a retail store manager’s job is still stressful. They are responsible for overseeing the entire store and everything that goes in and out of the store. On top of that, they are responsible for all of the employees at that location, their schedules, and them getting paid. Larger stores may also have multiple store managers.

Typical hours

While it is very typical for store managers to work normal daytime hours, it is all dependent on the hours that their store location is open. Some may even be open overnight, and shifts can vary from 8 AM to 12 AM. 

Available certifications

There are a variety of certifications that can be considered useful to a store manager, including:

  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA). The CMA is an advanced professional certification requiring more than two years of education or training after high school and more than two years of work experience. Candidates must pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every 12 months.
  • Food Safety Manager Certification (FSMC). Created using standards set by the Conference for Food Protection, this certification requires candidates to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every five years. 
  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP). The CSP requires two-plus years of education or training after high school and two-plus years of work experience. Candidates must pass an oral or written exam. Certification is good for three years.
  • Sales Management. This certification requires a minimum of two years of training or education after high school and at least two years of work experience. Candidates are expected to pass an oral or written exam.
  • National Professional Certification in Retail Management (NPCRM). The NPCRM covers the basics of what a retail manager needs to know to be successful in a broad range of positions. Candidates are required to pass an oral or written exam. Certification is good for three years. 

Career path

Although it is possible to become a store manager without a degree, it requires an extensive amount of experience in a retail setting. One way to accomplish this without a college degree is to begin as a sales associate in a retail setting. If you are successful as a sales associate and your store managers deem you competent, they could move you up to department manager. If you like the responsibilities of being a department manager and you excel at your job, in time, it is possible that you could advance to store manager. From there, it is possible to advance even further up the ladder to positions like division manager, regional manager, plant manager, and general manager. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-2022

2020 Employment397,900
Projected Employment in 2030425,800
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 7% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift27,900 increase

As long as people have a need to purchase goods, there will be a need for store managers. The employment number for store managers is expected to climb by 7% by the year 2030. It is important that store managers stay on top of their continuing education by gaining additional certifications to enable their most marketable selves. It is also possible that they stay on top of market trends and technological advances so as to better fulfill their role as retail store managers. Accomplishing these things will allow them to shine among their peer applicants when applying for a new position and also help them in climbing the retail industry ladder to positions with more responsibility and higher pay.