Retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Retail sales supervisors work in stores, shops and other retail outlets. They may work for businesses that offer rentals for home renovation or landscaping, automotive parts outlets and car and truck rental companies. They could work for wholesale firms that sell direct to the public or for telemarketing or door-to-door sales agencies.

Retail sales supervisors are responsible for overseeing and co-ordinating the activities of cashiers, greeters, salespeople, shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers. As a result of an increase in online sales, retail sales supervisors may also be involved with a company’s e-commerce site.

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

Common job titles
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  • chief canvasser - retail
  • front end supervisor - retail
  • key holder - retail store
  • supervisor, door-to-door sales
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Retail sales supervisors:

  • Oversee and co-ordinate sales staff and cashiers
  • Assign duties and prepare work schedules for full-time, part-time and contract workers
  • Approve payments by cheque and the return of merchandise
  • Sell products or services to customers
  • Solve problems, such as customer complaints and product shortages
  • Maintain inventory and order merchandise
  • Prepare reports regarding sales volumes, product supply and human resources
  • Hire, train or arrange training of new sales staff
  • Conduct employee performance reviews
  • Address problems with an employee
  • Assist with areas of a company’s online sales, such as scheduling workers to fulfil orders for pick up or delivery

Work environment

People with this job may be expected to work nights and weekends. Typically, they work in a store or other retail environment. If the business is online, they may work in an office or in a fulfilment warehouse. For those who work in a service rental business such as car or truck rentals, they may work at one of the rental agency’s storefront outlets or if the company has multiple locations, they could be located at a centralized head office.

There are often busy periods in retail, depending on the product or service sold. This can include summer months if the service or product relates to landscaping, vacations or other warm weather activities. Other busy times throughout the year may be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and the December holiday season. Busy times such as these may mean that the person with this job will be asked to work overtime, which can lead to additional stress.

Insights from industry

In order to support workplace safety, many retail companies provide first aid training to their retail sales supervisors.

Good communication skills are important for those in this career as there may be a need to speak with customers who are upset or frustrated. In addition, during busy times, there is added pressure for those on the front lines in dealing with customers and they may turn to the retail sales supervisor for help with a difficult customer or a problem that they do not know how to solve.

A retail sales supervisor also needs to be flexible and may be required to make changes, such as when workers call in sick or how to handle confidential human resources challenges.

The growth of online sales has created opportunities for people with this job because it has increased their area of responsibility. From online options such as instore pick up or same day delivery service, a retail sales supervisor who understands the specifics about this area of sales can open doors for themselves within the company as online sales continue to grow.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Progression to management positions in retail trade is possible with additional training or experience.
As a result of improvements in and more widespread use of technology, online shopping continues to grow in popularity. Experience or additional training in this area can be useful for people who would like to move to more senior positions with this career path.

Additional resources