You may not think of retail when you think of high-paying jobs, but believe it or not, there are a few retail positions that offer good salaries. According to Indeed, the national average salary, as of May 2022, is $18.89 per hour.
So if you're looking for a high-paying job that doesn't require a college degree, retail may be the sector for you. Check out this list of the best-paying retail jobs and see which one is right for you.
What Is a Retail Job?
A retail job is any position in a shop or store that involves interacting with customers. This can include anything from sales associates to retail account managers and store managers.
Retail jobs vary greatly in terms of day-to-day responsibilities, but most of them involve some combination of:
- customer service
- and inventory management.
To be successful in a retail job, you must have strong communication skills, be comfortable working with all types of people and be able to stay organized when faced with constant demands and changing priorities.
Additionally, the ability to quickly and efficiently process payments is crucial for most positions in retail.
Whether you want to start your career in retail or are simply looking for a change of pace, there are plenty of opportunities available out there!
Highest Paying Retail Jobs in The US
There are various jobs in the retail industry, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Some jobs, such as sales associates, are relatively low-paying but often have flexible hours and easy availability.
Other positions, such as store manager or customer service supervisor, tend to pay more but require more experience or education.
However, the highest-paying retail jobs tend to be in managerial or executive roles. These positions typically involve negotiating partnerships with vendors, managing employees, and budgets, and making strategic decisions about product selection, pricing, and distribution.
Whether you're looking for a starting position or aiming higher up on the corporate ladder, there are plenty of opportunities for success in the retail sector.
So if you want to earn top dollar working in retail, focus on gaining experience in management positions and developing your skills in areas like negotiation, communication, marketing strategy creation, and decision-making.
With hard work and determination, you can be sure to find a well-paid job in this exciting industry!
1. Hobby Lobby – $18.50/HR
The arts and crafts supply store chain has been named by Forbes as one of America's best large employers partly because of its pay structure.
They also provide healthcare coverage and set a starting wage for all full-time workers at $18.50 per hour, making them one of the most sought-after retailers to work for.
The average salary for a store manager is $76,968 per year.
2. Lowes – $13/HR
For over a hundred years, Lowe's has been helping people improve their homes. From appliances and tools to building materials and décor, Lowe's has everything you need to make your house a home. And with over 2,197 stores nationwide, there's always a Lowe's nearby when you need it.
Employees at Lowe's enjoy a number of benefits, including:
- disability and life insurance
- health, dental and vision insurance
- Flexible spending and health savings accounts
- 401k with company match
- generous vacation time
- and educational assistance.
And while there are many different positions available, according to Zippia, these are the highest paying jobs at Lowe's:
- Project Specialists can earn an annual salary of $58,425
- A Pricing Coordinator can earn $36,762
- and a Department Manager can earn $36,692.
But it's not just management positions that offer high salaries. Forklift Operators can also earn a healthy wage of $35,259 per year. So if you're looking for a high-paying job at Lowes, be sure to check out these positions.
3. Costco – $15/HR
Costco is a membership-based warehouse club that offers its members low prices on bulk items. From food and groceries to electronics and clothing, Costco has just about everything you need, all in one place.
And with over 574 locations worldwide, there’s sure to be a Costco near you.
Some of the benefits of working at Costco include:
- Paid Holidays – Costco employees get 7 paid holidays and 1 floating holiday.
- Time Off – The company offers a variety of time-off policies, including paid sick leave, vacation hours, and maternity leave.
- Promotions – Costco employees have the opportunity to move up within their departments and the company itself.
- Retirement – Costco employees receive benefits such as 401(k) matching and health insurance in retirement.
- Bonuses – Bonuses are available for employees paid both annually and every six months, with reports of bonuses of $2,000 or more.
- Sunday Pay – Costco operates on a time-and-a-half pay structure on Sundays, meaning employees earn 50% more per hour when working.
- Free Store Membership – Costco employees get four free memberships, one for themselves and three for people of their choosing.
With a starting salary of $17 per hour for sales associate jobs and $18 per hour for customer service representatives, Costco offers its entry-level employees a livable wage.
In addition, more specialized roles earn an average of more than $25 per hour, making Costco an attractive option for those looking to start a career in the retail sector.
4. Best Buy – $15/hr (Effective 8-2-2022)
If you're looking to get into the electronics industry, then Best Buy could be a great option. Although not much of a traditional retail position, many Best Buy employees perform functions such as installing new equipment, repairing broken devices, and stocking shelves.
Of course, with such a range of job roles and positions on offer, starting wages can vary massively, but all Best Buy employees can expect to earn at least $15 per hour.
In addition to a competitive starting wage, Best Buy employees also enjoy a number of benefits, including:
- health care and prescription drug coverage
- dental and vision insurance
- retirement savings plans
- tuition assistance and discounts
- paid time off
- employee discount
- and more.
According to Indeed some of the highest paying positions at Best Buy are:
- Delivery drivers' average pay is $16.99 per hour.
- An Installer makes $18.59 per hour.
- Repair Techs average $21.23 per hour.
5. Macy's – $15/HR
Macy's is yet another retailer that offers equal pay between genders and provides affordable healthcare options. In addition to offering a competitive hourly rate, Macy's also gives its employees generous bonuses and profit-sharing programs.
The company also has even bigger plans for employee lifestyle changes, with tuition programs and extra paid holidays being offered to all of its employees. In fact, Macy's even aims to raise its starting wage even higher to $17 per hour in the near future.
Pay for managers and other senior positions at Macy’s varies depending on the role, but some reports suggest that these positions can earn in excess of $60,000 per year.
- Administration Manager $58,175 per year
- Area Supervisor $66,000 per year
- Assistant General Manager $79,871 per year
6. Cvs – $15/HR
CVS is a pharmacy and healthcare company that offers its employees a number of benefits, including paid holidays, 401(k) matching, and medical insurance. The company also provides its employees with discounts on CVS products and services.
Although starting salaries at CVS vary depending on the position, many entry-level roles start at $15 per hour. In addition, CVS offers its employees the opportunity to earn paid time off and tuition reimbursement.
According to payscale, these are the highest paying retail jobs at CVS:
- Lead pharmacy tech $18.00 per hour.
- Operations manager $18.00 per hour.
- Retail store manager $21.00 per hour.
7. Saks off Fifth Avenue- $15/HR
Saks Off Fifth is one of the newest retailers to join the list. The discount designer clothes retailer has grown in popularity massively in recent years, thanks to its fantastic range of fashionable garments sold at reasonable prices.
They've recently started hiring and already have 105 locations up and running. Like other department store chains like Macy's, Saks Off Fifth focuses primarily on customer service, which is why all employees are given plenty of training to help customers through the buying process as smoothly and helpfully as possible.
In addition to the minimum $15 per hour starting wage, Saks Off Fifth also gifts its associates with ‘appreciation bonuses' that are reportedly worth $500.
Some of the highest-paying retail jobs at Saks are:
- Beauty consultant $17.54 per hour.
- Counter manager $23.67 per hour.
- Assistant general manager $76,009 per year.
Target is one of the largest retailers in the United States, and as such, offers its employees a number of benefits. These benefits include health insurance, 401(k) matching, tuition assistance, and paid time off.
In addition, Target employees receive a discount on Target products and services. Starting salaries at Target vary depending on the position, but many entry-level roles start at $15 per hour.
Some of the highest-paying retail jobs at Target:
- Warehouse workers $23.00/hour and $24.00/hour on weekends.
- Maintenance Technician $31.50 – $36.60/hour based on experience + $2.50/hour shift differential
- Food and beverage manager $82,784 per year
Ulta is a cosmetics retailer with over 1,000 stores across the United States. In addition to offering a wide range of beauty products, Ulta also provides its employees with a number of benefits, including health insurance, 401(k) matching, and paid time off. Ulta employees also receive a discount on Ulta products and services.
Starting salaries at Ulta vary depending on the position, but many entry-level roles start at $15 per hour. Some of the highest-paying retail jobs at Ulta:
- Beauty Advisor up to $18.00/hour
- Assistant Store Manager $46,686/year
- Store Manager $22.00/hour
10. Sam's Club – $15/HR
Sam's Club is a division of Walmart that specializes in selling bulk items at discounted prices. Sam's Club also offers its employees a number of benefits, including health insurance, 401(k) matching, and paid time off. In addition, Sam's Club employees receive a discount on Sam's Club products and services.
Starting salaries at Sam's Club vary depending on the position, but many entry-level roles start at $15 per hour. Some of the highest-paying retail jobs at Sam's Club:
- Stocking Associate $19.30 per hour
- Merchandiser $17.68 per hour
- Freight Handler $20.22 per hour
- Assistant Manager $66,000 per year
- Store Manager $70,000 per year
Factors That Affect The Highest Paid Retail Jobs
As with any profession in the United States, different companies will pay different salaries and wages to their employees depending on a number of different factors. It's definitely worth bearing these in mind when preparing your next application for a retail position:
A lot of people forget that different parts of the US have different minimum wage laws and employees can therefore earn more or less for the same job, simply because they live in different places.
This fact is the result of a large number of economic factors, but the bottom line is that it costs more to live in some states than it does to live in others, so wages have to reflect that cost of living.
For example, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paying state for retail employees is Washington state, where the hourly mean wage is $17.89!
|State||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Washington||$ 17.89||$ 37,210|
|New York||$ 17.58||$ 36,560|
|California||$ 17.46||$ 36,310|
|Alaska||$ 17.44||$ 36,270|
|District of Columbia||$ 17.36||$ 36,120|
It's worth looking up the cost of living for each state and seeing how it compares to average retail wages to get a more accurate idea of how well you could be paid there.
After all, there's no point in earning a higher wage if you'll end up spending more of it on accommodation, bills, and groceries.
As we said at the start of this article, there's a huge variety of different retail jobs that exist across the country, and each one tends to pay its workers a different wage depending on how difficult or physically intensive it is.
The BLS recognizes the top 5 retail industries in terms of employment and their average hourly wage as follows:
|Industry||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|General Merchandise Stores||$ 13.88||$ 28,870|
|Clothing Stores||$ 13.20||$ 27,450|
|Building Material and Supplies Dealers||$ 15.86||$ 32,980|
|Sporting Goods, Hobby, and Musical Instrument Stores||$ 13.93||$ 28,960|
|Automobile Dealers||$ 24.62||$ 51,210|
As you can tell, automobile dealers like car salespeople tend to have the most lucrative positions in the retail world, though this is mainly due to the nature of the products they sell.
For example, someone working in a general merchandise store (e.g, a grocery store) could process transactions for hundreds of products in a single shift.
Alternatively, an automobile dealer might only sell a few products in any given shift, but the total value of these products will be significantly higher.
Something to remember when thinking about your next retail job is how much skill and manual labor is involved in the position, as well as how expensive the products and services involved are. It's the combination of these two factors that can dramatically affect a starting wage.
This one is pretty self-explanatory: the more experience you have working in retail, the more money you’re likely to earn.
While it might be difficult to get your first job in retail without any experience, once you have a few years under your belt you should start to see your wages increase as you move up the ladder.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule and some retail positions will pay higher wages to entry-level employees than others, but in general, your experience will have a direct impact on how much money you can earn.
So now you know what kind of retail jobs are available, how much money they pay, and whether you should expect to make more or less than people with similar skills and experiences.
You also know which states offer the best opportunities for retail employees and where you'll find the highest concentration of retailers.
Now all you need to do is decide which type of retailer would suit you best and apply for a job. Good luck out there!