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A retail area manager is responsible for managing the operations of a retail store within a particular area. Each area manager is assigned a certain territory and the manager has to ensure that the stores within that territory meet or exceed annual revenue goals. Typically, the store managers are the area manager's only direct reports while the area manager usually reports directly to an executive or regional director.
Most retailers set annual revenue goals; those company-wide goals are divided between the different regions within which the retailer operates. The retail area manager has to further divide those goals between each store or retail location. Having allocated revenue goals, the area manager is also responsible for managing the retailer's operational budget. The area manager must appropriately allocate funds so that high volume stores have sufficient cash to buy inventory and to hire sufficient numbers of employees. Sales projections and performance reports from past years are normally reviewed before any budgetary decisions are made.
Generally, a retail area manager will hold weekly or monthly sales meetings with store managers. Each manager must make reports about recent sales activity during these calls. The area manager may ask successful store managers to share their best practices and sales techniques with other supervisors during these meetings. Details of procedural or operational changes are also shared during these meetings as well as information about upcoming promotions and product launches. In turn, the retail area manager normally attends regular meetings with the district sales executive or director during which details of company-wide announcements are shared.
Aside from sales, a retail area manager is also responsible for ensuring that operational procedures are followed at all stores. The manager must decide how store employees should store cash and transport money to the bank. Managers must also develop procedures for store opening and closings and policies for handling issues such as shop lifting or customer complaints. In some instances, area managers also have the authority to sanction the building of new stores and the closure of underperforming locations. When stores are closed, the area manager may decide to transfer employees from the closed store to another location.
Typically, a retail area manager has a college degree in business administration or management. Additionally, most retailers require managers to have prior retail experience including some time spent as a supervisor or store manager. Successful area managers are often able to transition into executive roles although some firms require people filling these roles to have advanced degrees in business, marketing or a related topic.