Department Stores

female paying for goods at a  department store clothing fashionDepartment stores offer a wide variety of goods, beyond food or groceries and are mostly located in the centre of cities and major shopping centres. Specific product ranges are grouped together in one 'space', each with its own manager, buyer, stock, budget and sales targets. More than 1 in every 20 department store employees is a manager!

There are two distinct styles in department stores - those that offer exclusive or upmarket brands and products and those that focus on offering lower prices. Australians spend more than $19 billion a year in more than 1,100 department stores.

Often multi level, these retail businesses will provide at least a minimum of four product areas which could include clothing, furniture, kitchenware, china, glassware and other housewares, textile goods, electrical, electronic and gas appliances, perfumes, cosmetics, toiletries and food goods.

Department retailers aim to provide a positive shopping experience where customers are given personalized service. Almost 6,500 people work in South Australian department stores, about two-thirds as sales assistants.

South Australian department stores turn over $129 million a month.

Department Store Sector Leaflet

Download the Department Stores Sector Leaflet (2.6MB)



Dale Tuck

Dale TuckName: Dale Tuck
Age: 47
Place of work: Barossa Community Store
Role: Store Manager
Estimated salary range for this job role: $81K - $100K

Working in retail is a fantastic education! I started at 17 and did a Trainee Manager-Buyer Program with a department store, which led to a Sales Manager role - then Initiative Business Manager and Merchandise Manager with another company.
I travelled interstate and overseas - including a study tour in America - before being recruited to my current role. Along the way, I worked with good inspired leaders and had mentors who gave me encouragement, clarity of direction and stimulated belief in myself. Now I encourage personal development in my own team.

Retail teaches so many skills. It's just a wonderful workplace, full of opportunity - and it's fun! You meet lots of people and make life-long friends. I even met my wife in retail!


Stacey Baldwin

Stacey Name: Stacy Baldwin
Age: 22
Place of work: Barossa Community Store, Sports Power department
Role: Team Leader
Qualifications: Certificate III in Retail Operations and Supervision, currently undertaking Certificate IV in Retail (Retail Executive Program)
Estimated salary range for this job role: $21K - $40K

Retail is really fun! There's always something new to do and you get to meet new people. Opportunities are everywhere! From just some work experience when I was 15, I went to working after school; then as a buyer in ladies fashion and accessories - now I'm a Team Leader in the sports department. Apart from co-ordinating staff and deliveries, I'm also involved in buying merchandise which I really enjoy. I like providing excellent customer service too - it's a way of helping people and is therefore rewarding. Being a department store, there's always a manager or team leader you can go to for advice and I have gained really good people skills, communication skills and social skills - along with self-confidence!