Your Research Guide to a Career in Retail

By Rick Jones, vice president of sales at RecruitMilitary and a former master gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps

I encourage job seekers to use this guide to learn about the Retail Trade sector of the economy and the job opportunities in that sector.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a part of the United States Department of Labor, describes the Retail Trade sector of the economy on “Industries at a Glance”. That page provides various statistics, including employment, unemployment, and openings, hires, and separations; employment by occupation; earnings and hours; earnings by occupation; employer compensation costs; numbers of establishments; and productivity.

The Retail Trade sector has NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes of 44 and 45. For an explanation of NAICS codes, see “Your Guide to Industrial and Occupational Employment Statistics”. The sector has 12 subsectors, and “Industries at a Glance” has a page for each:

  1. Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers (NAICS 441)

  2. Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores (NAICS 442)

  3. Electronics and Appliance Stores (NAICS 443)

  4. Building Material and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers (NAICS 444)

  5. Food and Beverage Stores (NAICS 445)

  6. Health and Personal Care Stores (NAICS 446)

  7. Gasoline Stations (NAICS 447)

  8. Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores (NAICS 448)

  9. Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, and Music Stores (NAICS 451)

  10. General Merchandise Stores (NAICS 452)

  11. Miscellaneous Store Retailers (NAICS 453)

  12. Nonstore Retailers (NAICS 454)


Another BLS publication, the Occupational Outlook Handbook, has a chapter on Retail Sales Workers. The chapter has sections on what retail sales worker do on the job, the work environment, how to become a retail sales worker, pay, job outlook, similar occupations, and contacts for more information. The Handbook also has a chapter on Cashiers.


Industry Associations are another great source of information on the Retail sector. Below is a sampling of association websites:

American Booksellers Association

American Specialty Toy Retailing Association

Council of State Retail Associations

Craft and Hobby Association

Direct Marketing Association

Electronic Retailing Association

Entertainment Merchants Association

Music Business Association

National Association of College Stores

National Automobile Dealers Association

National Grocers Association

North American Home Furnishings Association

National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association

National Retail Federation

North American Retail Hardware Association

The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing

Vacuum and Sewing Dealers Trade Association


To learn about the issues, the players, and the general buzz in retailing, I suggest that you read trade magazines and view media websites on the subject. Most of the magazines listed below are available both in print and online. The name of the publisher follows the name of the magazine or site.

Auto Dealer Monthly Bobit Business Media

Beverage World Macfadden Communications Group, LLC

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News NBDA Services, Inc.

CE Pro (tech-related products) EH Publishing

Chain Store Age Lebhar Friedman, Inc.

Convenience Store News Stagnito Media

Drug Store News Lebhar Friedman, Inc.

Food & Drink International Phoenix Media Corporation

Furniture World Furniture World Magazine

Grocery Headquarters Macfadden Communications Group, LLC

Hardware and Building Supply Dealer Lebhar Friedman, Inc.

Internet Retailer Vertical Web Media

Pet Business Macfadden Communications Group, LLC

Progressive Grocer Stagnito Media

Retail Leader Stagnito Media

Retail Merchandiser Phoenix Media Corporation

Retailing Today Lebhar Friedman, Inc.

RetailWire RetailWire LLC

Specialty Retail Report International Council of Shopping Centers

Supermarket News Penton

Technology Integrator NAPCO Media

The Gourmet Retailer Stagnito Media

The Paint Dealer The Paint Dealer

TotalRetail NAPCO Media

Wireless Dealer Magazine Wireless Dealer Magazine

By Rick Jones