Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month we’re exploring the role of a Retail Manager.


Find out what’s involved in the role from in this excerpt from the career profile on the Indigo Careers module.

So what is a Retail Manager?

Unlike a shopkeeper who owns the store and deals with manufacturers, Retail Manager run the shop on a day-to-day basis. This could be a small or a large department store, chain, independent store or a supermarket. Managers recruit, train and supervise staff, encouraging them to develop their skills and meet targets.

Retail Managers monitor sales looking at ways of improving them and oversee supplies by checking stock, placing orders and making sure they do not run out or over-order.

The store manager has overall responsibility for everything that happens in the shop and must deal with any problems or complaints.


Many stores are open long hours, at weekends and overnight, so you will probably have to work shifts, usually over 5 days.


You will be on your feet a lot as well as doing administration and paperwork. You may be based in one store, or be visiting several that you have responsibility for.

Type of work

Managers recruit, train and supervise staff.

Things to consider

Very competitive

Entry for higher retail management positions is competitive, so you need to be very well equipped for application and interview to do well.

Good progression

Retail can offer you an exciting career with good promotion prospects.

Heavy responsibility

You will have a lot of responsibility quite early in your career.

Stressful aspect

Working with the public can be demanding and stressful.


A salary in excess of £70,000 is possible in large retailers and supermarkets. 

Most people have a certificate of further education and you will need previous experience/passion for the field

There are no set requirements in order to become a retail manager but many stores will require candidates to have at least 5 GCSEs/National 5s, including passes in Maths and English. Previous experience of working in a retail or customer service role, be that through paid employment or work experience, is highly beneficial and usually favoured above formal academic qualifications. Experience of stock management, pricing, merchandising and finance will ensure your application stands out.

You may however opt to pursue a Certificate in Retail Knowledge/Skills or a Foundation degree, degree or postgraduate qualification in retail management, marketing, business studies or accounting and finance in order to develop your skills and knowledge of the industry. If you are planning to work within a specialist field, such as a builders’ merchant, a qualification in a subject relevant to that retailer may give you an advantage in securing employment.

Higher Apprenticeships in Retail Management may also be available. As an apprentice, you are likely to experience a combination of on-the-job training and day or block release college instruction where you will work towards gaining qualifications such as the BTEC qualifications in Retail Knowledge (Level 2) or the Level 5 Work-based Diploma in Supply Chain and Operations Management from the Institute of Supply Chain Management.

Top Tip

Many retailers offer graduate trainee management schemes and if you have a suitable degree you could pursue this fast-track option, although competition is fierce. Here you will experience in-house training, work shadowing and supplementary courses. Your employer may even encourage you to gain further professional qualifications.

Salary progression

The typical starting salary ranges between £20,000 and £30,000 but depends largely on the organisation in which you work. With experience, this can rise to between £35,000 and £60,000. A salary in excess of £70,000 is possible in large retailers and supermarkets.

Click here to explore the full library of over 650 career profiles, including multimedia content and LMI data for students to interpret and discuss.