A retail executive makes all the major decisions involving a store, or a chain of stores. Retail executives lead many different types of businesses, from those that sell electronics to those that sell clothing to those that sell automobiles. But regardless of industry, retail executives handle many of the same duties. That includes managing other employees and marketing their company.
Retail executives hold important jobs and are responsible for making sure a company not only remains profitable, but exceeds financial expectations. They interview and hire other managers, and define their company’s mission and sales goals. Retail executives don’t need to be an expert in every area of sales, but they do need to put other managers in place who are. On top of the bottom line, retail sales executives are largely in charge of finding ways to draw the interest of the general public.
Retail executives must be confident managers who possess excellent leadership skills. They must be motivated, energetic, organized, resilient and able to keep employees motivated and functioning as a unit, as well as make sure that company morale stays high. Retail executives also must be innovative when it comes to promoting their store and its brands, analyzing trends and keeping a close on the competition. On top of those things, they need to be solid accountants, since their jobs often center around numbers, or more specifically, profits.
With the exception of extremely rare instances, retail executives must possess a bachelor’s degree. Most focus on majors in advertising, marketing or business, along with courses in administration, management, communications, mathematics and even public relations. The majority of retail executives also spend time as store and branch managers before being hired to run the company.
Opportunities for retail executives are likely to fluctuate greatly by the type of business for which they work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for top executives overall are expected to experience little to no growth from 2008 through 2018. At the same time, the BLS reported that employment in the retail industry could increase by 8 percent during the same decade.
Much of what a retail executive earns is based on the success of her company, as well as the industry and her experience. Some retail executives can be among the highest earners in the country. According to the BLS, top executives in general made a median annual wage of $91,570 in May 2008. Meanwhile, PayScale.com reported that retail district managers earned a median salary of $65,938 in June 2010.