(dih-pahrt-muhnt man-ij-muhnt) (n.)
The practice of overseeing a specific department in a retail setting. Department managers not only engage in daily customer service, but they also lead a group of sales floor associates specializing in a certain type of merchandise. Retail establishments are broken into sections for ease of organization, and this makes navigating through the store easier for customers. A department manager takes responsibility for one section of the store, and duties often include ensuring that the shelving remains efficiently organized and keeping the inventory continually in stock.
Much of the daily freight handling and customer service issues can be delegated to sales floor associates. A department manager, however, must take responsibility for ordering and replenishing. To do this effectively, the manager must have a thorough knowledge of daily, weekly and monthly sales numbers. Attention to these figures will help keep inventory levels accurate. This is why many department managers use company-programmed, hand-held computers, although some stores may rely on an older system of paper-based ordering. Irregularities in shipping may lead to overstock issues, which can be resolved through price cutting or creating feature displays. Failure to keep inventory organized and at adequate levels may result in a drop in a store's profit margins.
Although department managers may make many of the decisions on their own, they are not the final authorities in their respective stores. A department manager is often tasked to fulfill an assistant or store manager's vision or set of plans. Upper-level management often provides written notes on what must be accomplished, and the department manager delegates these priorities to sales floor associates. This leads the department manager to act as a liaison between rank-and-file employees and upper management. If these tasks are not completed, the department manager is often held accountable.