Retail Supervisor Job Description, Salary, and Skills

retail manager with team
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If you are interested in a retail career, a retail supervisor position is a step up the career ladder from the entry-level associate position most retail employees start at.

However, there are opportunities to start at this level if you are hired for a retail management training program that many major retailers offer. These programs are typically offered to recent college graduates. Applicants may be recruited through their college career office or can apply directly online to the company.

Retail Supervisor Job Description

Retail supervisors run departments at stores that sell all types of products to consumers. They establish standards for customer service, position displays, monitor inventory and note sales trends.

First-line supervisors of retail sales workers hire, train and evaluate staff who sell merchandise and stock shelves in their departments. They resolve customer complaints, make sure that items are accurately priced, and that advertised specials are appropriately promoted through displays.

Retail supervisors often manage the budget for their department. They also oversee the reconciliation of any registers if positioned within their department.

Sample Job Advertisement

Carefully review the description for any jobs for which you plan to apply. Here’s a typical advertisement for a position in the field:

The Retail Supervisor acts in a leadership role to promote outstanding customer service and ensure smooth daily store operations.

Supervisors are responsible for customer service, merchandising, product knowledge training, and development of the store associates. The Supervisor is responsible for maintaining assigned departments within the store.

The Retail Supervisor is responsible for working with team members on customer service, selling skills, and product knowledge.

This position is expected to perform a wide variety of activities aimed at driving sales, and managing the training and development of associates in a specific department. The Retail Supervisor is responsible for ensuring that all department and store initiatives are implemented according to company standards.

The Retail Supervisor is a full time position and requires flexible availability including nights and weekends. This position reports directly to the Assistant Manager and is expected to coordinate and deliver department training to associates. 


  • Promote the store's customer service culture
  • Merchandising and physical maintenance of assigned department
  • Promote corporate and store initiatives to increase sales and profit
  • Conduct training for customer service and product knowledge
  • Conduct selling skills training for associates
  • Provide merchandising and display skills training
  • Communication to associates and store management
  • Manage department budget
  • Motivate, evaluate, coach, and counsel store associates
  • Implement and manage safety and loss prevention standards
  • Schedule hourly associates


  • Excellent leadership, communication, and employee on-boarding, training, and retention skills
  • Ability to prioritize responsibilities and to effectively multi-task
  • Identify associate's strengths and assign work accordingly
  • Passion for exemplary customer service
  • Ability to learn about products and share product knowledge
  • Sales expertise
  • Management experience in a retail or similar customer-focused organization
  • Experience in a fast paced, customer service industry is preferred

Education and Training Requirements

Retail supervisors often start as associates and progress to positions where they manage departments.  A high school education is the minimum requirement, but candidates who possess a college degree with coursework in business or management will have an edge.

Some supervisors enter management training programs at retailers.  These individuals receive training and mentoring, and advance to positions such as assistant manager and ultimately to department or store manager.

  Management training programs at retailers typically require a bachelor’s degree.

Retail Supervisor Skills

  • Addressing employee performance issues promptly
  • Analyzing sales reports
  • Assessing needs for staff training
  • Budgeting
  • Controlling expenses
  • Controlling inventory
  • Creating incentives for sales staff
  • Designing or supervising the design of store displays
  • Devising promotions
  • Ensuring adherence to corporate standards
  • Establishing theft prevention protocols
  • Evaluating employee performance
  • Evaluating the customer experience
  • Hands on management experience
  • Hiring
  • Identify talent
  • Implement visual guidelines
  • Interviewing prospective staff members
  • Learning and utilizing retail management software
  • Loss prevention
  • Maintaining safety standards
  • Maximize profitability
  • Maximize sales
  • Point of Sales (POS) systems
  • Profit and Loss
  • Promotions
  • Recruiting staff
  • Resolving customer complaints
  • Staff retention
  • Stock control

Retail Supervisor Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income for Retail First-Line Supervisors was $39,040 in 2016.

Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for Retail First-Line Supervisors are expected to grow by 2 - 4% from 2016 to 2026, a slower rate than for occupations as a whole. The expansion of online merchandising is expected to limit job openings for retail supervisors.