In today’s growing retail industry, companies are in need of skilled retail managers and leaders. At retail management schools, students may learn about things like maintaining an inventory, training and managing employees, creating an effective store layout, and directing marketing efforts. A retail management degree prepares students to work both in merchandising and management for department and specialty stores, chain organizations, small businesses, and more. Keep reading to learn more about retail management and whether it is the right career path for you.
Retail Management Program Options
Degree Levels, Concentrations, & Flexible Scheduling
A retail management program may award a certificate or degree at the associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s level. Retail management degrees may also be combined with concentrations in marketing, fashion merchandising, and hospitality management, among others areas of study. Many programs offer online learning options, as well as flexible course scheduling to give students the opportunity to complete their studies at their own pace.
The prerequisites for associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in retail management are usually a high school diploma or GED, a minimum required GPA, and minimum required SAT/ACT scores. It takes two years to earn an associate’s degree in retail management, and four years to earn a bachelor’s degree.
The admissions requirements for master’s degree programs in retail management may include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, minimum required GRE/GMAT scores, and letters of recommendation. Master’s degrees will usually take two years to complete.
What You Learn at Retail Management Schools
Training students to become successful administrators and managers of retail businesses, the curriculum for a retail management degree might discuss how to create a strategic retail environment, build brand loyalty, and manage the ins and outs of a successful retail business.
Retail Management Courses
Retail management courses may cover some of the following topics:
- Principles of sales
- Computers in business
- Business mathematics
- Retail merchandising
- Customer service
- Customer motivation & buyer behavior
- Principles of advertising
- Supply chain management
- Accounting for managers
As a retail management student, you will obtain a well-rounded and balanced education in management. The curriculum will also typically include practical experience in the field through externship opportunities.
Retail Management Career Opportunities
Retail management is an exciting field flourishing with new opportunities. Globally, retail is one of the fastest areas of growth in the economy and it is competitive and ever changing. Consumers are always looking for higher quality product, as well as better customer service.
Retail managers are responsible for day-to-day operations in various types of stores. Their duties may include supervising and training stuff, analyzing sales figures, interpreting industry trends, responding to customer complaints, determining the layout of the sales floor, overseeing purchase orders, developing product promotions, and performing local marketing, among other responsibilities.
Skills that are valuable to have as a retail manager include excellent customer service, decision-making, leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills.
Types of Careers
A degree in retail management prepares you for a variety of careers in the retail business, including:
- Store manager
- District manager
- Sales and marketing representative
- Sales floor product planner
- Retail merchandiser
- Sales manager
- Retail operation manager
Retail Management Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report employment statistics for retail managers, specifically. The growth for retail salespersons is expected to be about as fast as average in the coming decade, as the growth will affect the health of the economy. However, management positions tend to be highly competitive, and so the growth for retail management roles will likely be less than that of salespersons.
In 2013, the median annual wage for the below retail-related positions were as follows:
- First-line supervisors of retail sales workers– $37,200
- Wholesale and retail buyers– $52,370
- General and operations mangers– $96,430
- Purchasing managers– $103,780
- Sales managers– $108,540
Pursuing a Retail Management Degree
A retail management degree provides you with the theoretical and practical knowledge you need to succeed in a retail environment. There is a strong need for skilled managers and leaders who can think outside of the box and help retail stores meet the challenges of an evolving market. If you would like to take on a leadership role in a retail setting, start exploring your education options today.