Retail sales associates' salaries vary significantly among industries. Associates who work in the heating and plumbing industries make as much as $20,000 more per year than associates who sell clothing. Nonetheless, sales associates may find more job opportunities at clothing stores, where the employment of associates outpaces other sectors.
Retail sales associates, or retail salespeople, help customers choose merchandise at auto dealerships, clothing and home improvement stores and other businesses. Sales associates also ring up purchases, restock inventory, set up store displays and help keep stores neat for customers. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show sales associates earned a mean salary of $25,000 in 2010, and hourly pay for the occupation was about $12. The National Retail Federation (NRF) lists the total hourly compensation for retail employees in 2011 at $17.19. The NRF indicates that vacation time, bonuses and other benefits add nearly 25 cents to each dollar paid to retail workers.
Clothing stores employ most of the nation's retail salespeople, according to BLS data. The more than 720,000 associates who worked at clothing stores in 2010 earned a mean salary of $21,580. Associates' salaries were significantly higher at building materials and supplies stores, where associates generally earned about $27,700 in 2010. More than 388,000 salespeople worked in the building materials industry in 2010. Another 269,000 associates worked at sporting goods and hobby stores that year, and they earned slightly more than clothing salespeople did at $21,760.
Retail salespeople earn some of the highest wages for their occupation in the auto and hardware industries. The mean salary for associates in auto body sales was $51,480 in 2010, and associates who worked at auto dealerships earned about $42,400, based on BLS data. Salespeople in the hardware, plumbing and heating industries earned about $41,800 in 2010.
Washington, D.C., Washington state and Colorado are among the locations that pay the highest salaries to retail sales associates. The BLS indicates that salaries in those areas ranged from about $27,400 to $28,330 in 2010. However, associates in all states may find some of the best future job opportunities at general merchandise stories, because the bureau predicts fast growth at those stores through 2018. Consumers generally prefer to shop at general merchandise stores because they have a large assortment of items and lower prices than specialty stores, according to the BLS.http://www.ehow.com/info_12149608_much-retail-sales-associates-paid...
Interesting. I would not have guessed, Washington state and Colorado to be high paying locations for retail associates.
It didn't seem so far-fetched that D.C. was among the top salaries for retail sales associates. With it being the nation's capital (and the fact that it's surrounded by some wonderful, high-end shopping centers), I would expect this. I can say, though, as a D.C. native, getting a retail job in the District can be a bit more complex than average.