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What does a Retail Sales Associate do?

Retail sales associates work in stores where they sell goods, such as books, cars, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, lumber, plants, shoes, and many other types of merchandise.

Many retail sales associates process the payment for the sale, which typically involves operating cash registers. Depending on the hours they work, retail sales associates may have to open or close cash registers.

In addition, retail sales associates may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays.

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Working as a Retail Sales Associate

Depending on their roles, qualifications, specialization and years of experience, a retail sales associate may:

  • Greet customers and offer them assistance
  • Answer customers' questions
  • Add up customers' total purchases and accept payment
  • Recommend merchandise based on customers' wants and needs
  • Inform customers about current sales, promotions, and policies about payments and exchanges.
  • Explain the use and benefit of merchandise to customers
  • Show how merchandise works, if applicable

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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How much does a Retail Sales Associate make in the United States?

Average base salary

Average $14.91
Low $10.42
High $21.33
Non-cash benefit
View more benefits

The average salary for a retail sales associate is $14.91 per hour in the United States. 179.4k salaries reported, updated at September 27, 2023

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Where can a Retail Sales Associate earn more?

Compare salaries for Retail Sales Associates in different locations
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How much do similar professions get paid in United States?

Customer Service Representative

Job openings

Average $17.51 per hour

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How do Retail Sales Associates rate their jobs?


Based on 31,608 reviews


your clients make it worth it.

Written by RETAIL SALES ASSOCIATE (Former Employee) at Men's Wearhouse - Lexington, KY – July 17, 2019

I loved the customers and helping them make their events the best they could be. Taking someone who knows nothing about putting a men's wardrobe together and teaching them how to match and dress like they are ready for that next job interview is what it is all about and when they come back to say thank you!! I got the job, THE BEST!!
or then the Groom invites you to his wedding, says to me job well done!!


Good work experience


Its easy to work 50 hours a week

Sales and Customer Service

Written by Retail Sales Associate (Current Employee) at Macy's - Las Vegas, NV – February 14, 2015

I open the registers and ensure the merchandise is displayed perfectly. I help the customers make the decision of what products they need. I continually learn about our products to help our customers make better decisions. Sometimes I have to close my department at store closing. I have a great management team that helps me learn company policies and product knowledge. My co-workers and I work as a team to better help our customers. I feel the hardest part of this job is you can't please all the customers all the time. I can't let that bother my performance. I really enjoy finding the right product for my customer's loved ones.

Great environment filled with many team members and guests to help throughout the day.

Written by Sales Floor Associate (Current Employee) at Target - 6507 4th Ave 95817 – September 22, 2014

The best part of working for me was always being able to help and make a difference for someone's day. I would help 10+ guests on slow days and 25+ guests on busy days. Management was good with a lot of different supervisors to look up to. There was a majority of younger workers there that also attended school next to target. Target was a great fast pace environment that is easily learned. What i enjoy the most is the people that i get to bond with, help and make that difference for them whether small or big.




Not enough hours

Fun work environment. Great place to work

Written by Retail Sales Associate (Former Employee) at T-Mobile - Chicago, IL – July 16, 2019

A typical day at work would be me arriving a couple of minutes before my shift to get ready and punch in. Then you meet with your manager on duty for a little meeting to discuss the focus of the day and any new promotions that we may have to insure we are well prepared for the customers. Then you hit the sales floor and greet and take customers to help them with their needs as well as introduce new products we may have. The workplace culture is great, you will always have support from your leaders on anything you need help with. Most enjoyable part of the job was interacting with so many different people on a daily basis. Hardest part of the job is dealing with disgruntled customers but its just another opportunity for you to help them and to change their mind about t-mobile in a more positive way.

Fun place to work.

Written by Retail Sales Associate (Former Employee) at Wawa - Allentown, PA – October 25, 2017

Very accommodating on hours. We had a variety of functions in the day, you weren't at one particular station, which I enjoyed. We had a great team and we were always the top store in our region. I kept spoilage down to a minimum by taking fruits and veggies with blemishes and creating cut up containers to go. You would have your regular return customers which made it enjoyable. Mandatory meeting in the evenings were the down side.


Stocks and credit union.


The visors they made us wear and uniforms at the time.

Common questions about for a Retail Sales Associate

What should I wear to a retail sales associate interview?

Dress professionally for the job you are interviewing for. If the retail store is upscale, you should wear a suit or slacks and a blazer. If it is a more casual retail environment, then business casual attire is appropriate. This means no jeans, open-toed shoes, or graphic tee-shirts. Ensure you show up to the interview clean, well-groomed, and ready to make a great first impression.

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What are some tips for doing well in a retail sales associate job interview?

It's important to prepare for a retail sales associate interview. Arrive 15 minutes early and be prepared with knowledge about the company, why you want to work there, and why you are a great fit for the position. Be sure to dress professionally. Make eye contact throughout the interview and answer questions in an honest and professional manner. Thank your interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in working with them.

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Do I need a background check as a retail sales associate?

Retail stores have different policies regarding background checks for retail sales associate. Whether or not a background check will be required should be disclosed during the application process and be in compliance with local, state and federal laws. Background checks may vary by location and type but most will include basic identity verification, national criminal registry check, and national sex offender check.

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What is the minimum age requirement to become a retail sales associate?

How many hours do retail sales associates work in a day?

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