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Store Manager vs. Assistant Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A store manager and an assistant manager are both responsible for the successful operation of a retail business. The store manager is the highest-ranking position in the store, while the assistant manager is second in command. Both roles require excellent customer service skills, leadership abilities and a strong knowledge of the store’s merchandise. In this article, we compare and contrast the job duties, responsibilities and salary expectations of store managers and assistant managers.

What is a Store Manager?

Store Managers are responsible for the overall operation of a retail store. They oversee the day-to-day operations of the store, including supervising employees, handling customer inquiries, stocking shelves and overseeing point-of-sale transactions. Store Managers also develop marketing and sales strategies to increase store profitability. They track sales data and analyze trends to identify opportunities for improvement. Store Managers develop and implement action plans to address areas of concern. They also train new employees and provide ongoing coaching and development to existing employees.

What is an Assistant Manager?

Assistant Managers work alongside store managers to ensure that daily operations run smoothly and efficiently. They provide support with tasks such as scheduling shifts, training employees, ordering inventory and handling customer concerns. Assistant Managers also help to create and implement marketing campaigns to promote store sales. They may be responsible for leading a team of employees and monitoring their performance. In some cases, Assistant Managers may be responsible for opening and closing the store.

Store Manager vs. Assistant Manager

Here are the main differences between a store manager and an assistant manager.

Job Duties

A store manager oversees the daily operations of a retail location. They’re in charge of hiring and training employees, scheduling shifts and overseeing employee performance. In addition, they manage budgets and make decisions about which products to stock in their store.

An assistant manager typically works on a specific aspect of the business, such as assisting the store manager with employee management or helping the sales manager with customer service. Depending on the company, an assistant manager might have other duties, such as monitoring inventory levels or maintaining security measures.

Job Requirements

To become a store manager, you will likely need at least a high school diploma. Some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field. Additionally, most store managers have several years of experience working in retail before being promoted to a management position.

Assistant managers typically need at least a high school diploma as well. However, some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree or some college coursework. Additionally, assistant managers usually have several years of experience working in retail before being promoted to a management position.

Work Environment

The work environment for a store manager and an assistant manager can vary depending on the type of business they’re working in. For example, if you work as an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant, your work environment may be more fast-paced than if you worked as an assistant manager at a clothing boutique. Assistant managers often spend most of their time in the back room or stockroom organizing inventory and restocking shelves. Store managers usually spend more time interacting with customers and overseeing employees to ensure that they are completing tasks correctly.


Both store managers and assistant managers need to have excellent customer service skills. This involves being able to handle customer complaints in a professional manner, providing helpful and accurate information about products and services and upselling when appropriate. Store managers also need to be able to motivate their employees to provide great customer service and meet sales goals.

Both positions require basic math skills to complete tasks such as calculating employee commissions, preparing budgets and processing payments. However, store managers typically need more advanced math skills than assistant managers as they are responsible for more financial aspects of the business. For example, they may need to develop marketing budgets, track inventory levels and forecast future sales.

Organizational skills are important for both positions, but they are especially crucial for store managers. This is because they are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the store, including the employees, the merchandise and the finances. They need to be able to delegate tasks, keep track of deadlines and ensure that the store is running smoothly.


The average salary for a store manager is $51,400 per year, while the average salary for an assistant manager is $46,860 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of store, the location of the store and the level of experience the manager has.


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