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Store Manager

What does a Store Manager do?

A store manager may also be referred to as a branch manager or retail store manager, and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of a retail store. The main focus of the work is to meet personal and location sales targets and customer satisfaction standards by maximising the customer’s experience. The duties of store managers depend on the size and type of store for which they work. The business aspects of a store can be divided into four categories: merchandising; store operations; accounting and bookkeeping; and advertising and promotion.

Typical tasks for store managers include:

  • managing and motivating a team
  • overseeing recruitment and training
  • keeping track of stock and ordering
  • organising sales promotions and in-store events
  • serving customers
  • dealing with queries, complaints and feedback
  • analysing sales figures and forecasting future sales volumes
  • maintaining awareness of market trends and monitoring what competitors are doing
  • controlling budgets and costs
  • providing reports to senior company executives.
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What qualifications do I need?

The common entry route to becoming a store manager is to start by building up experience as a retail sales assistant, and gaining training and development within a store or company. While some stores or companies offer on-the-job training, work-based training combined with studying a business or sales course, or degree, towards a retail management qualification is advantageous when promotions are considered. Most universities and colleges offer some form of business management training, requiring a National Senior Certificate that meets the requirements for a diploma or degree course.

What subjects do I need?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• Mathematics
• Consumer Studies
• Business Studies

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Where can I study?

University of Johannesburg
National Diploma: Retail Business Management; Bachelor of Commerce: Business Management

Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Diploma: Retail Business Management

Durban University of Technology
National Diploma: Retail Business Management

False Bay College
Diploma: Business Management

Varsity College
Diploma: Business Management

Business Management Training College
Diploma: Business Management

University of the Witwatersrand
Bachelor of Commerce

University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Commerce: Finance

University of Pretoria
Bachelor of Commerce: Financial Management Services

Where can I get more info?

South African Institute of Management – www.saim.co.za
South African Facilities Management Association – www.safma.co.za

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Interview with a Store Manager

Abdurahman Hamdulay | GENERAL MANAGER | Pick ’n Pay: Western Cape

Abdurahman Hamdulay | GENERAL MANAGER | Pick ’n Pay: Western Cape

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What does your job involve?
I see my job similarly to that of a conductor or director of an orchestra: a coach. I am surrounded by professionals, managers and staff – all experts in their various fields. I know the ‘masterpiece’ we need to deliver to the audience. It is my job to share the plan with everyone, and ensure that everyone understands the importance of when and how to play. Everyone works hard; my job is to try and keep people motivated to perform their best. The reward is the standing ovation, time and time again, from our audience, the customers.

How did come to be in your position?
My father and his brothers all owned small grocery shops, so I guess I can say that I grew up with retail in my blood. During my childhood, I worked in their shops, slicing bread at 6am before going to school, and also helping out every weekend. When I was 14, I told my dad that I wanted to work in a big store and that I intended to work at PnP. One Friday, I got on my bicycle and cycled to PnP Kenilworth, locked my bike, walked in the front door and there I met the store manager, Nick Badminton, now CEO, and asked him for a job. He looked at me and asked: ‘Can you push trolleys?’. I said I could do anything, so I got my first job at PnP, a proud porter.

What training did you undergo?
Whilst working as a casual at PnP, I continued with high school. After I matriculated, I enrolled to do a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of the Western Cape. In April 1993, I was chosen to join the PnP trainee management programme. I continued my studies at UWC by attending night classes and graduated in 1994.

The trainee manager programme was both theoretical and practical. The theory involved understanding in detail operations in retail and contained modules that were generic to retail business. The practical side involved learning and working in all the different departments in a store. I started off in the receiving department, thereafter the cash office, banking, tills, service area departments and then the shop floor. In 1996 I was appointed to my first store as Store Manager in Camps Bay.

In 1999, I was asked to join the head office team as a trainee accountant. In 2003, I took the job as Financial Director for the Western Cape Region. In 2005, I was appointed General Manager of the Eastern Cape Region and in 2006 to current, General Manager of the Western Cape Region.

Is there a personality type best suited to this work? In retail, you need to be cool, calm and collected. You must love working with people and working as a team. You must be enthusiastic about your work and motivate others. You need to be a confident person and inspire confidence in others. You need to have the personality of Muhammad Ali, the world champion boxer, (a nobody-can-beat-you attitude).

Is experience as important as formal training?
Experience is very important because formal training can never prepare you for every aspect of the job and every situation that may arise. With time spent and experience gained, decisions become easier and you don’t repeat mistakes.

Describe a typical day
This is the most exciting part of retail, every day is different. The time I enjoy most is my time spent in stores. Here, in the hustle and bustle, I interact with customers, management and staff and the whole store breathes life into the real reason why I love my job. There are so many other elements: strategy, finance budgets and results, merchandise and trading, social responsibility, and more.

What do you enjoy most?
Seeing how people grow and progress in the business. I have seen many people who previously could not read or write, undergo ABET classes in conjunction with different skills development programmes to become confectioners, bakers, chefs etc.

What aren’t you keen on?
Industrial relations when drawn out, and people procrastinating.

Share one of your career highlights to date?
My latest career highlight was when one of the people I employed some time ago as a casual shelf packer was made a store manager. When this happens, I know I am successful in my job.

What are your goals for the future?
To be known and admired for being the best retail chain in the Western Cape, South Africa and the world.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?
I would advise them to have fun! Retail is a dynamic and exciting business. People are key; your goals will be achieved sooner if you work with, through and by others. Success in this industry is not only about working hard and long hours but also about working smartly. Give it your best shot. Key to achieving results: think, plan, execute and follow up.

Describe your job in three words
Dynamic • Exciting • Rewarding

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Johnny Telo & Miguel Alves | STORE MANAGERS | Vredehoek Kwikspar & Kwikspar on Kloof

Johnny Telo & Miguel Alves | STORE MANAGERS | Vredehoek Kwikspar & Kwikspar on Kloof

Why did you choose retail?
Johnny: Well, fishing is my passion, but I wasn’t sure about managing a fish shop!
Miguel: My family are in food retail. I began packing shelves in my father’s shop during school holidays when I was seven.

What training did you undergo and where?
Johnny: Behind the Shop Counter!
Miguel: I learnt everything on the job. It was only in the last couple of years that Unisa started offering a BCom in Retail. Spar introduced an in-house course a couple of year’s back, which has now become accredited.

Describe a typical day
Johnny: My day starts early (5am) and goes on until late. There is an emphasis on the financial side (cash ups, paying accounts) and, of course, a focus on direction; to steer the store.

What do you enjoy most?
Johnny: Getting it right, before the time.
Miguel: Everything, it’s a complete package: sweet and sour. You are dealing with people and if you enjoy this – and I do – then every day is good.

What don’t you like?
Johnny: Nothing! I promised myself that the day I get up and don’t want to go to work is the day I retire. But retail is not for the faint-hearted and you will be under constant pressure. Everything that goes wrong is your fault!

Hurdles to overcome…
Johnny: Lack of capital and cash-flow weakness.
Miguel: Staff problems – because of the nature of the work and the long hours staff are often leaving. This leads to paperwork and training. I also have to keep staff motivated, and balance my family life to ensure work problems don’t cross over.

What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Johnny: Winning Kwikspar of the Year, year on year. This has never been done before.
Miguel: Becoming a partner in Kwikspar on Kloof.

Future goals?
Johnny: To win the national Kwikspar of the Year.
Miguel: Winning Kwikspar of the Year regional.

What maketh a manager?
Johnny: A people person with the ability to concentrate on an issue until it is resolved. The ability to multitask and handle pressure. The ability to work with people from different cultures and various types of people.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Johnny: If you have no common sense, this is a bad career choice. Don’t go into retail if you don’t like: people, stress, long hours, shift work, working on weekends, being loved today and hated tomorrow.
Miguel: Retail is like a duck swimming in a pond – on the surface it looks smooth and calm, but under the water those little feet are paddling furiously!

Describe your job in three words
Johnny: Common sense • Work
Miguel: People • Perseverance • Standards