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- What does an area manager do that a store manager doesn't?
The area manager role is a very different one to that of a store manager and therefore the ability to alter one's approach in managing others is a key factor in determining someone's suitability and longer term success. The primary job function of the area manager is to manage and assume overall responsibility for the success of their stores by directing all operational aspects of each store and driving sales whilst minimizing costs.
They are responsible for ensuring that store managers and their staff keep stores to the highest possible standards, being well organised and properly merchandised at all times; and that all policies, procedures, and controls are followed. This will also include stock control to ensure store shrink is within company guidelines so as to protect company property and assets. The difficulty is that an area manager's time has to be split between a number of stores and the managers of these stores, who may require different levels of support and time.
In many cases, area managers will be in an organization that is expanding or contracting depending on their success and economic cycle at that time. Therefore, the ability to understand and adapt to change management initiatives is vital to developing their own career.
Depending on the size of the organization, the area manager will report either directly to the operations director, board or a district manager. The role will also vary depending on the sector of retail they are working in as this could cover such product areas including Grocery, DIY, Fashion, Catering, Footwear, Electrical, Audio/Video, Pharmacy, Furnishings, Bakery, Gifts, Books and Stationery, Household, Consumer Durables, Fast Food, Restaurants. An area may consist of between eight and twenty stores.
The area manager job is likely to comprise many duties and responsibilities, but one of the key ones is the setting of sales and operational goals and expectations, and then ensuring that those goals and expectations are achieved through regular monitoring. This goes as far as overseeing the performance management of the entire store management team to achieve the desired results in supporting the business.
Responsible for ensuring that all customer service initiatives are in place, dealing with issues quickly and courteously, area managers need to be well organized and schedule regular store visits to ensure compliance in all areas of customer service, store operations, and loss prevention. They will be expected to train, challenge, motivate, encourage, and provide constructive guidance to store managers and the team related to all areas of effective operations.
They must have an in-depth understanding of the market so that they can maintain competitive awareness by continuously monitoring the competition and then reacting accordingly to maintain the business advantage.
Most companies will promote at this level from within their own store pool of managers. However in some cases, organizations may decide to look externally to source candidates who are already doing a multi-site role.
If you would like to speak to someone about applying for an area manager job or for a complete list of our nationwide area management jobs, please get in contact!
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