Shop manager job

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Rachel Bush is a deputy manager for a High Street fashion retailer. Rachel joined the company through its management trainee programme and is based at the company's main store in Glasgow.

What does your shop manager job involve?

My job is to make sure that the store is working at its best and provides a good shopping experience for customers. I spend most of my time on the shop floor. Motivating the team is another important aspect of my role. I also oversee the administrative side, dealing with paperwork, deliveries, staff rotas and so forth. I suppose my main task is to ensure that we meet and exceed the sales targets set by head office.

Do you actually work on the shop floor?

Oh, yes. I do my share of working on the cash tills, meeting and helping customers in the shop. We have to think up new ways to improve the shop and we are always reorganising the goods on display to make them more attractive to customers.

What are the best things about working in fashion retail?

Fashion is an exciting area to be in because it's always changing. You have to adapt to the busy times during seasonal periods. It is very exciting to see the new lines of clothing when they are delivered to the store. The clothing discount that we receive is also good!

What hours do you work?

I work about 39 hours a week on a shift basis. In a typical High Street store, staff hours are from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm. Because this store is based in a shopping centre it remains open until 9.30 pm. We all have to take our turn staffing the store in the evening, but we do get time off to compensate.

What sort of training did you receive?

I was one of 30 selected to join the company's management training programme, which lasted a year. During this time, I worked in seven different stores to gain the experience I needed. I kept a portfolio of my experience and had regular progress checks with my managers. For the first three months I learned the basics such as using the till, dealing with deliveries and working on the shop floor. Later on, I was trained in the management aspects of the job.

Are there still opportunities for on-the-job training?

Yes, the training doesn't stop now that I have been made a permanent member of staff. The company provides many training opportunities as part of our skills and career development. There is a clear career path and you know yourself when you're ready to move on to the next stage.

What do you particularly enjoy about your job as a shop manager?

I really enjoy working with the other staff at the store. I also enjoy working with the customers, helping them to find what they are looking for. You have to work under pressure all the time – which is a challenge – as each shopper is a special customer.

What skills and qualities do you need?

It is important to be able to manage your time well. As there is so much to do, you also need to be quite organised. The ability to work well with people is essential.

How do you see your career progressing?

I'd like to stay with the company and progress from deputy to store manager, and then to area manager.

Rachel's route to becoming a shop manager

  • Scottish Highers.
  • Joined company management trainee programme.
  • First point as deputy manager.

Rachel's shop manager tips

  • Make the most of opportunities to get involved with additional projects and activities.
  • Networking can benefit your career development, so talk to your managers.

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Salary of a shop manager

  • Starting salaries for non-graduates begin at around £12,000.
  • Trainees on graduate training schemes will start from £15,000 or more.
  • With experience it is possible to earn £30,000 as manager of a store for a national chain.
  • At senior levels, some retail managers earn up to £60,000 a year.
  • National retailers often provide additional benefits such as discounts, bonuses and pension schemes.

Becoming a shop manager

  • It is possible to work your way up from sales assistant to store manager, with experience and further training. Internal training schemes can lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
  • Larger retailers provide training schemes to allow staff to progress to management positions. These can last between one and two years and will cover all aspects of running a store. For graduates it is also possible to gain retail management qualifications whilst working in retail.
  • Some retailers provide Apprenticeship schemes.
  • NVQs/SVQs in Retail Operations are available at various levels.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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