At the independent end, retail management is about managing a small but often complex business. At the corporate end, it's about managing and coordinating multimillion-pound operations.
At either end, if you can hit your monthly sales targets the opportunities are endless. Your job can progress from managing a department, to being assistant store manager, to managing a store, to area and regional management and, ultimately, retail director.
Whatever your level, the successful retail manager is seen to be constantly striving to improve their businesses profit. You'll know how to deal with suppliers and customers, oversee and manage stock control, check displays, price special offers; ensure that sales targets are achieved and lead and motivate your team.
Similarly, no matter what your status, you'll probably still have to work some weekends and bank holidays, and at the lower levels you may have to have specialised knowledge of a product area or industry.
Although some recruiters report that the job market at this level is static, the retail sector on balance is buoyant. You just have to look at the crowds in huge out-of-town shopping centres to confirm that people are shopping more. Analysts note that consumers are spending more money than ever on luxury goods and the nation's disposable income doubled between 1971 and 1999, so you are in the right business if you want to develop your potential.
Once you've got ten to 15 years of retail management experience under your belt, you are ripe to move into a regional manager role. This is a stimulating job where you act as a role model, take full operational responsibility for your specific product lines and the credit for a job well done. When you've cracked that, you can look forward to becoming a retail director ....
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