Retail buyers purchase goods for resale. They’re responsible for all the products you see on store shelves. Depending on the company, a buyer may be in charge of just one line of goods. For example, a department store chain might hire someone to oversee the purchasing of men’s clothing or appliances or toys. Other companies ask their buyers to work on a few different departments. Salaries vary by employer.
In 2012, half of all retail buyers earned at least $51,470 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners, on the other hand, made in excess of $92,630 a year, while the bottom 10 percent made less than $29,120 a year. None of these figures, however, account for employer or location -- two factors that have some bearing on earnings.
As with any occupation, employer affects salary. For example, retail buyers working for department stores averaged $76,820 annually as of 2012. Those working for building supplies dealers earned an average of $52,320 a year, while those working for mail-order companies made $57,990 a year. The greatest earning potential lay in oil and gas extraction, where buyers can expect an average of $110,510 a year.
Where the employer is located also has an effect on earnings. A retail buyer in New Jersey has the greatest earning potential, making an average of $70,280 a year. Those in Georgia were a close second, averaging almost $67,000 a year, while those in Connecticut made $66,670 a year. Retail buyers working in Idaho earned the least in the nation, making just over $41,000 a year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics believes retail buyers should notice 9 percent more job opportunities through 2020. This is much slower than the average for all U.S. occupations -- an estimated 14 percent. As people’s purchase behavior slows, fewer goods are needed to stock store shelves, constraining the growth of this occupation. Of course, any improvements in the economy should improve the outlook for retail buyers.
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