There are many different levels of retail jobs. If you have minimal experience of retail you could start by working as a sales assistant in any of a wide variety of retail outlets, including clothing retailers, supermarkets or department stores. To get such a job, you will be expected to have a reasonable standard of maths for handling cash and checking stock levels, as well as communication and customer service skills. It will help to have experience of handling cash and working with the public.
The role of a sales assistant is to help customers and to make the shopping experience enjoyable. Part-time work is very common at this level, and you should expect to spend a lot of time on your feet as you may need to lift and carry stock items. Full-time salaries can range from £11,000 to £15,000 a year, with supervisors potentially earning £15,000 to £20,000 a year.
From a position as a sales assistant, you could progress into retail merchandising. As a retail merchandiser, it is your job to ensure that goods are available in stores at the right time and for the right price. Although the role is office-based, you would also visit stores or suppliers as part of your job, potentially including other areas of the UK or abroad. Salaries can start at around £18,000 a year, which can rise to between £20,000 and £40,000 as you gain experience. In large retail companies, top salaries can reach £50,000 a year or more.
You will generally need a degree or BTEC HND in a business or maths-based subject, such as fashion buying and merchandising or retail management, in order to become a retail merchandiser. You will usually start in merchandising as an allocator, distributor or merchandising administrator. This can lead to an assistant merchandiser or merchandiser position as you become more experienced.
At a similarly high level, meanwhile, is the role of retail manager, which involves running a retail outlet. This could be a large supermarket, an independent shop or anything in-between. You can become a retail manager by starting as a sales assistant and working your way up as you gain experience. Alternatively, you could join the management training scheme of a retail chain. Starting salaries for retail managers can be between £15,000 and £20,000 a year, rising to as high as £28,000 with experience, although some senior store managers have been known to earn £40,000 or more.
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