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Retail Store Sales Worker Supervisor

Retail Store Sales Worker Supervisor

Education and Training High school diploma preferred; sales experience and on-the-job training

Salary Median—$32,720 per year

Employment Outlook Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Retail store sales worker supervisors manage salespeople, cashiers, stock clerks, and other entry-level employees who work in retail establishments. Sales worker supervisors are employed by general and discount department stores and by specialty stores such as furniture, book, and music stores. In smaller establishments sales worker supervisors may manage the entire sales floor during their shift. In large department stores supervisors generally manage a single department such as shoes or housewares. Sales supervisors typically report to store managers.

Beyond ensuring that employees are doing their jobs, sales worker supervisors hire, fire, and train employees. They also handle customer complaints and questions. Sometimes retail supervisors are entrusted with bookkeeping and purchasing responsibilities. In big department stores they may be responsible for organizing the merchandise on store shelves, reviewing the inventory to make sure everything is in stock, and establishing the sales goals for their departments. Sales worker supervisors in specialty stores may need specialized knowledge. For instance, a supervisor employed in a kitchen supply store should know a good deal about cooking.

Education and Training Requirements

Retail store sales worker supervisors are generally promoted from sales or cashier positions. Employers prefer to hire high school graduates for supervisory positions. New supervisors are often trained on the job. For jobs in specialty stores employers may prefer to hire supervisors with extensive knowledge of the merchandise.

Since many people judge a retail operation by its appearance and its salespeople, sales supervisors must ensure that their store is kept clean and that their employees are neat, well-groomed, and competent. Sales supervisors must also be able to maintain their composure and hold their ground when dealing with irate or unreasonable customers.

Getting the Job

People interested in employment as retail store sales worker supervisors can apply directly to the stores for which they would like to work. Private and state employment offices may offer help in a job search. Newspaper want ads and career sites on the Internet often list openings for retail sales supervisors. Given the high turnover rate in the retail industry, sales employees can sometimes be promoted to supervisor within a year.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Some retail store supervisors become store managers. Those who work for chain stores may be promoted to administrative jobs in the company's headquarters.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 946,000 people were employed as retail store sales worker supervisors in 2004. Employment of sales supervisors was expected to increase slower than the average for all occupations between 2004 and 2014. As retail operations expand, companies will likely give existing supervisors more responsibility instead of hiring new supervisors. Most openings will occur as experienced workers transfer to other occupations or leave their jobs.

Working Conditions

Working conditions vary depending on the store. Some retail store sales worker supervisors stand all or most of the day and others sit at a desk for a good part of their shift. The work may be repetitious, and many stores get hectic during rush hours.

Retail store sales worker supervisors usually put in forty hours or more each week, including evenings, weekends, and even some holidays. Supervisors may be especially harried in the weeks leading up to major holidays because they are usually in charge of hiring part-time employees for the season and must deal with a large influx of customers.

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings for retail store sales worker supervisors vary widely with location, individual experience, and the responsibilities of the job. The median annual wage for sales worker supervisors in 2004 was $32,720. The top-paid 10 percent made more than $58,400.

Where to Go for More Information

National Retail Federation
325 Seventh St. NW, Ste. 1100
Washington, DC 20004
(800) 673-4692

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
1775 K St. NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 223-3111

Many stores offer benefits such as paid vacations, paid holidays, and health insurance to full-time workers. Employers usually offer discounts to their workers on merchandise purchased from the store.

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