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The Role of a Retail Floor Manager

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Whether a small boutique or a large department store, retailers employ salespeople to answer customer inquiries, process customer transactions and, most importantly, actively sell merchandise. A retail floor manager is charged with overseeing this team of sellers to ensure that these business objectives are met.

Job Duties

A floor manager wears a variety of hats. Like the salespeople he manages, he serves customers by answering their questions and selling merchandise to them. To ensure a pleasant shopping experience and showcase the goods in the best manner possible, he may create window displays and tidy the showroom. A floor manager also has operational responsibilities. He routinely takes inventory of the current stock and reorders products as necessary. In addition, he recruits and trains new salespeople, and leads sales team meetings.

Training and Education

Although a formal education is not necessarily required to become a retail floor manager, many who work in the field possess undergraduate and even master’s degrees. Common fields of study include marketing, retail management and sales management. More important to employers, however, is a candidate’s real-life retail experience. In most instances, retail floor managers are hired or promoted after working as a retail salesperson. During this early career stage, salespeople typically receive on-the-job training covering a wide range of topics, including customer service, company best practices and loss prevention. They also may receive training that is specific to the products they sell.

Compensation Counts

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010, retail salespersons earned a median wage of $9.94 per hour. Retail floor managers or first-line supervisors, however, earned a median hourly wage of $17.70 or $36,820 per year. While the lowest 10 percent of managers earned an average salary of $23,410, the highest earners in this occupation were paid salaries topping $61,000. The variation in pay scale is attributed to the varied compensation structures within the retail industry. Some stores, for example, pay retail floor managers a standard hourly or annual wage. Other employers, in contrast, may also pay a commission on sold merchandise in addition to a base salary. When commissions are a factor, a retail floor manager’s earnings are dependent not just upon the manager and her team’s salesmanship, but the general health of the economy.

Industry Overview

Although retail floor managers are found in all types of stores, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2012 that these individuals are predominately found in general merchandise store, grocery stores, clothing stores, building material supplies stores and health and personal care stores. Although the state of California employs the highest number of these workers, the highest earners were found in Rhode Island.


KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.

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