Pay for Retail Sales Associates in the United States sits in the ballpark of $10.02 per hour. Bonuses, profit sharing, and commission all factor into final incomes for Retail Sales Associates. Ranging between $17K near the bottom and $36K near the top, total earnings can include up to $5K from bonuses and up to $5K from profit sharing, with a high-performing minority reaping commissions of $24K. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by the particular firm, followed by years of experience and geography. Women Retail Sales Associates who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. Health benefits are not claimed by all — more than half lack any form of coverage — but more than a third have medical insurance, and just under a third have dental, too. Job satisfaction for Retail Sales Associates is high. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$17,647 - $59,013
(Median)
$18K
$34K
$59K
MEDIAN: $33,815
10%
50%
90%

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$8.08 - $14.51
(Median)
$8
$10
$15
MEDIAN: $10
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$20K$40K$60K
Salary
$17,647 - $59,013  
   
Bonus
$99.46 - $5,143  
Profit Sharing
$51.82 - $4,818  
Commission
$0.00 - $24,042  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$16,921 - $36,113  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 392
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$9$18$27
Hourly Rate
$8.08 - $14.51  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.03 - $7.57  
Overtime
$8.58 - $24.26  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$18K$36K$54K
Bonus
$99.46 - $5,143  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $24,042  
Profit Sharing
$51.82 - $4,818  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$16,921 - $36,113  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 4,389
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Job Description for Retail Sales Associate

A retail sales associate works in the customer areas of a retail store. The store uses these workers to help maintain the location's orderliness and appearance, as well as assist shoppers in locating specific merchandise and with questions about sales or special discounts. Additionally, many stores ask their retail associates to perform duties such as restocking inventory throughout a shift. In some stores, associates are cross-trained as cashiers and may be called upon to either run a register at the front of the store or at a remote department location during busy hours. Typically, associates help with store-wide sales campaigns and special promotions; they must be knowledgeable about these campaigns and provide customers with assistance regarding sale items, discounts and customer rewards programs.

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Retail Sales Associate Tasks

  • Attend special training of products/services to understand the product features, trends or styles of the products/services.
  • Sell the organization's products/services to new or established customers typically via walk-in business.
  • Process payment for products or service, may maintain customer preference records.
  • Assist the customer in selecting products/services, answer questions and check for stock and availability.

Common Career Paths for Retail Sales Associate


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There are some Retail Sales Associates — though it's uncommon — that transition into Registered Nurses, where earnings are an average $56K annually. The most common next step for a Retail Sales Associate is to become a Retail Store Assistant Manager or a Retail Store Manager. The former position pays an additional $11K per year on average, and the latter position pays $19K more per year.

Popular Employer Salaries for Retail Sales Associate


Dominating the field, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, The Home Depot Inc., Macy's, Inc., Target Corporation, and T-Mobile, Inc. are top firms with a reputation for hiring a great number of Retail Sales Associates. Verizon Wireless does shell out the biggest paychecks — the median in that office is $42K — but the company pay scale is greatly mixed, meaning that workers on the low end may earn only $21K while workers on the upper end may rake in up to $61K. Other leaders in compensation levels are T-Mobile, Inc. at $33K, Lowe's Home Improvement Inc. at $26K, and Nordstrom, Inc., where Retail Sales Associates annually earn $26K.

The lowest pay by far can be found at JCPenney — this employer offers a median salary of $19K, less than half of the top paying employer's rate. Walmart.com, Kohl's Department Stores Inc and Macy's, Inc. are three other employers with a reputation for below-average pay, showing salaries around $19K, $19K, and $20K.

Popular Skills for Retail Sales Associate


Retail Sales Associates seem to exploit a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Sales Management, Customer Relationship Management, Inside Sales, and Account Sales are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 15 percent and 18 percent. Those educated in Customer Service tend to be well versed in Cash Handling and Customer Relations.

Pay by Experience Level for Retail Sales Associate

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


For Retail Sales Associates, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $21K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $24K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $26K in this role. As Retail Sales Associates reach more than two decades on the job, compensation remains commensurate with experience; the average pay in this group is $29K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $21,320

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Retail Sales Associates, working in the bustling city of Seattle has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Retail Sales Associates will also find cushy salaries in New York (+19 percent), Las Vegas (+15 percent), Atlanta (+15 percent), and Los Angeles (+14 percent). The lowest-paying market is San Antonio, which sits 5 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 3 percent less in Miami and 2 percent less in Orlando, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Retail Sales Associate Reviews

What is it like working as a Retail Sales Associate?

Retail Sales Associate in Bellevue:
"Sales associate responsibilities."
Pros: I enjoyed helping women choose clothing which best suited each individual. Many women needed someone to choose clothing for them as they weren't aware of what looked best on them. Most were very appreciative and kind.
Cons: Women who were unfriendly and had no intention of buying......just killing time trying on clothing and leaving tons of clothing in piles in the dressing room. And women who would order many items on line and return as many as 20 items.

Retail Sales Associate in Tampa:
"Not horrible."
Pros: Most of the Staff are good to work with and its not hard to learn. Its nice helping people and the thrill of the sale is always fun.
Cons: Out-dated equipment and procedures make it almost impossible to keep up with inventory (Death by paper cuts). As old as this company is it should have gone paperless years ago; yet, most everything is still hand written or needing to be verified manually in redundancy. Lack luster monthly promotions, complicated rebates and no sales incentives leave one questioning the motives of Upper Management when product sales and quotas are demanded. The single fact that for all the duties and functions that are expected to be done of this position, having done all of the Required Training (plus some additional courses), completed a "mandatory" ONE YEAR term as a trainee and still be on the same compensation level as an entry level courier is slightly insulting. One might venture to say its degrading as it is necessary to remind (beg) management for the promised amount of compensation for position one has been filing.

Retail Sales Associate in New York:
Pros: Get to meet new people all day everyday. Give fashion tips, find something a person would love and feel comfortable in.
Cons: Some of the rules.

Retail Sales Associate in West Bend:
"Hard working, Must care about peoples needs."
Pros: The people and activity of the store, helping people find the product.
Cons: The job is never really done, upper management seem to be disconnected and they forgot their roots.Pressure.

Retail Sales Associate in Chicago:
"Stressful."
Pros: I associate with different people, I love making people feel good about themselves as well happy.
Cons: Unsatisfied managers and customers.

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Experience Affects Retail Sales Associate Salaries




National Average
$21,000


Skills That Affect Retail Sales Associate Salaries







Customer Relations
up arrow 3%

Client Interaction
up arrow 2%

Merchandising
up arrow 1%

Customer Service
0%

National Average
$21,000

Retail
up arrow 1%

Oral / Verbal Communication
up arrow 1%

Spanish Language
up arrow 1%

Cash Handling
up arrow 2%

Organizing
up arrow 2%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 690 votes.

Gender

Female
58 %
Male
42 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
52%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
14%
20 years or more
7%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 37%
dental benefits
Dental: 29%
medical benefits
Vision: 25%
dental benefits
None: 60%
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