Job description

A retail salesperson is responsible for a store’s sales activities and efforts. Their duties are wide-ranging and include greeting customers and sorting inventory to providing product information to shoppers. They also handle customer refunds, check out patrons and deal with theft.


    • Greet customers, offer assistance and answer any questions or concerns shoppers might have
    • Check out shoppers when they are ready to make a purchase and calculate the cost
    • Use point-of-sale (POS) systems and process credit or debit cards or take cash
    • Count money, balance cash drawers, make deposits and separate charge slips or vouchers
    • Manage supplies by ensuring products are in stock, organised on the shelves and in good shape
    • Provide recommendations for goods or services when requested by the consumer
    • Update the prices of items by changing the price tag on products
    • Maintain up-to-date and detailed records of sales and other transactions
    • Prepare seasonal merchandise displays and set up proposed display designs
    • Ensure that work and shopping areas are clean and safe for people to walk through
    • Understand the store policy pertaining to payments and exchanges,/li>
    • Practise proper security protocols for the store and for digital payments
    • Open or close the store and prepare the establishment for operating hours

Skills and qualities

Customer service
Time management

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk


Career progression

With experience, you could move into inventory management, retail buying, bookkeeping and, if there are multiple locations, franchise supervision. That said, it is a highly competitive field and the makeup of the workforce is diverse, from high school students to college graduates, and advancement is, therefore, limited.

Working conditions

Average hours

35h/ week

Typical schedule

Shift Work

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

As a retail salesperson, you can expect to work about 35 hours per week, but this might fluctuate depending on the season. For example, some overtime work might be required during busy holiday shopping seasons.

You will also generally work in shifts, meaning you could work during nights, weekends and the occasional holiday.

The work can be stressful, particularly when dealing with irate customers or during busy periods.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High school

On-the-job training

Study time

3 months

Employers typically prefer candidates with at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent. That said, if you wish to rise the ranks and potentially land a position at head office, then it would be prudent for your career advancement to enroll in courses in accounting, business, marketing and other related fields.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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