Retail and wholesale trade managers (NOC 0621)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Retail and wholesale trade managers plan, direct and evaluate the operations of businesses that sell goods or services at the retail or wholesale level.

Retail trade managers work for companies that sell products directly to consumers for their own use. Wholesale trade managers work for companies that sell larger quantities of products for resale.

Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a retail manager is like.

Common job titles
  • bird seller
  • dealer, cattle / livestock
  • dealer, computer products
  • dealer, metal / salvage / scrap metal
  • dealer, pleasure boat
  • dealer, tire


In general, retail and wholesale trade managers:

  • Study market research and trends to learn about consumer demand, potential sales volumes and their competition
  • Learn about their customers to understand what items would sell best
  • Build relationships with suppliers and buy goods to sell
  • Manage inventory
  • Set pricing strategies and credit policies
  • Develop and carry out marketing and merchandising plans
  • Plan budgets, approve expenses and review performance to gauge profitability
  • Offer service to customers in person, by phone and digitally
  • Settle customer complaints
  • Assess staffing needs, hire and manage staff, and assign duties
  • Oversee health and safety policies

Work environment

Retail and wholesale trade managers work for retail and wholesale businesses or departments. Some own and operate their own businesses.

Most work at least 40 hours a week, but schedules vary greatly. Owners of retail stores have more control over their time, but their hours of operation must be convenient for customers. Owners also tend to put in more hours before their business opens and after it closes.

Technology has made it possible for managers to work remotely when necessary. It may also mean that they are expected to be available outside of business hours.

Retail trade managers must work well with the public. Interacting with customers, answering questions and dealing with complaints are a large part of the job.

Insights from industry

Small companies need to attract and keep customers to compete with large chains and online sales. Retail and wholesale trade managers often do this by creating unique promotions and by highlighting their business’s specialties.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Trade managers may move between retail and wholesale roles, depending on the product or service.

In larger companies, experienced retail trade managers may become regional or provincial managers. Experienced wholesale managers may become senior department managers, directors, executive directors or vice-presidents.

Additional resources

  • Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA)