Retail Supervisor Course Details

Penn Foster Career School’s online Retail Supervisor program is designed to help you prepare for a first-line retail supervisor position or to advance in this growing field. Learn shift manager duties, including how to supervise retail sales workers, as well as basic level management functions, such as asset protection, budgeting, and more — online, at a pace that’s right for you.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students for a first-line supervisor position in the retail industry or to advance in this field. Students will learn basic retail concepts including store environment, customer service, retail transactions and payment methods, product quality and safety, visual merchandising, food safety standards, marketing and advertising, and planning for sales through managing inventory. Students will explore principles of leadership and management such as retail financial accounting, people and team development, and back office organization. Students will learn about teambuilding, conflict resolution, self-awareness, persuasion through leadership, performance management, budgeting, cash management, handling audits, asset management, workplace safety, theft prevention, delegating tasks, staffing practices, problem solving, time management, and goal setting.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • Identify the dominant retail formats and products used by popular retail companies
  • Identify key retail product classifications
  • Define the significance of the retail industry including key opportunities available in retail leadership
  • Describe customer service standards in the retail industry
  • Identify common policies, technology, and skills used to conduct profitable and secure retail transactions
  • Explain important elements and current trends in the design and management of the retail store environment
  • Define steps and processes required to manage product assortment and inventory profitably
  • Explore the relationship between consumer behavior, visual merchandising, and common retail marketing techniques
  • Identify common challenges, legal concerns, and best practices in leading and managing people in the retail industry
  • Describe how key asset protection tools are used to minimize the cost of theft and casualty in retail
  • Apply basic math and accounting skills required in retail financial management
  • Describe how to implement common principles of management (strategy, planning, and policy) in retail operations leadership
  • Show social responsibility by taking into account employee quality of life when scheduling
  • Use critical thinking skills to make key decisions based on problem-solving skills and models
  • Create a personal development plan, including key skills for leader effectiveness, to be implemented in the retail environment
In this course, you'll learn tips for how to be a good Penn Foster student.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites
This course provides an overview of the retail industry including retail product categories and formats, job opportunities in retail leadership, and current trends that are expected to continue impacting retail management.


  • Identify the dominant retail formats and products used by popular retail companies
  • Identify the key retail product classifications
  • Identify key employee roles and job titles used in various retail formats
  • Explain the role of the retail supervisor, including key tasks and skills required to be successful
  • Explain the significance of trends in the retail industry
This course will provide you with information about the retail customer experience including consumer behavior, customer service and retail transactions, and retail store environment design and maintenance.


  • Explain the steps of the consumer decision-making process in order according to the way consumers make buying decisions
  • Identify which of the four factors are influencing a consumer’s buying behavior
  • Analyze consumer behavior patterns
  • Describe how to provide customer service according to the National Retail Federation customer service standards
  • Identify the appropriate steps to satisfy the customer by resolving the situation for a given complaint
  • Describe each type of point-of-sale technology equipment
  • Identify the standard forms of payment used in retail transactions
  • Identify relevant safety and legal requirements in customer transactions
  • Explain the steps and techniques that could be used to sell products to a prospective customer
  • Identify the key components that should be present in the physical, functional, and aesthetic design of a retail location
  • Explain retail environment factors that influence customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction
  • Identify areas of legal and safety concerns according to common federal and state legislation including age-restricted product sales areas, OSHA, and ADA 
  • Summarize emerging trends in retail store design options
This course provides the student with information about retail industry products and services, including inventory management and food service standards.


  • Identify the correct steps of the product life cycle for a given retail product
  • Identify the key factors used in determining product assortment and its effect on sales
  • Calculate the required amount using the ordering formula for demand planning
  • Identify procedures that should be completed to safely receive and handle products during a vendor delivery
  • Explain the principles of visual merchandising that apply to displaying product for sale
  • Explain the asset protection standards that should be in place to minimize inventory loss due to theft or casualty
  • Identify common types and causes of foodborne illnesses as well as the importance of proper hygiene to prevent contamination of food products
  • Explain the roles that checking food deliveries, properly storing food, and pest control play in preventing food contamination
  • Identify common food safety guidelines and regulations that relate to preparing food, cleaning and sanitizing, and storing clean and sanitized items
  • Identify common procedures and regulations required to display and sell food products safely
In this course, you’ll learn the skills necessary to lead and manage people in the retail industry. Topics include leadership and human resources for retail supervisors.


  • Identify the leadership model that’s best associated with a given list of characteristics
  • Select the motivation technique that best aligns to an employee’s traits and characteristics
  • Describe the benefit of each teambuilding technique as it applies to the retail environment
  • Identify the benefits of developing culture and teamwork in the retail environment
  • Identify options available to support employee retention
  • Summarize the best resolution strategy to resolve conflicts
  • Choose the relevant law (HIPAA, FMLA, EEOC, Wage and Hour, and so on) that applies to various employment scenarios
  • Prepare to recruit, interview, and select a new employee following all applicable laws
  • Explain how to implement an effective onboarding plan
  • Explain how to train an employee using the adult learning principles and on-the-job training model
  • Illustrate the steps in the performance management process in order
  • Explain how to legally terminate employment following all applicable laws and documenting accordingly
This course provides you with information to successfully manage retail operations. Topics include retail accounting, financial planning and reporting, fundamentals of asset protection, workload management and staffing, and personal effectiveness for retail supervisors.


  • Calculate the gross profit for an item given its retail sale price, discount amount, and cost
  • Identify the impact on potential gross profit given examples of promotions, markdowns, and price increases
  • Explain physical inventory and book inventory
  • Explain the role of an audit in the retail accounting process
  • Explain benefits of retail budgeting along with common types of retail
  • Explain the proper procedures for cash management and banking
  • Identify key controllable lines on financial reports including total sales, labor expenses, and maintenance expenses
  • Identify key components of asset management tracking systems
  • Explain the proper practices to support workplace safety and security
  • Describe a business continuity plan including crisis management and emergency preparedness documents
  • Analyze staffing needs to determine the number of labor hours required to efficiently operate the retail business
  • Classify job assignments to ensure all maintenance and customer service responsibilities are adequately performed
  • Prepare a schedule that maximizes the efficiency and profit of the business
  • Show social responsibility by taking into account employee quality of life when scheduling
  • Identify the skills needed to communicate efficiently and effectively
  • Identify the skills and tools needed to manage time effectively
  • Use critical thinking skills to make key decisions based on problem-solving skills and models
  • Explain how to use a goal-setting system to create motivating and achievable goals
  • Prepare a personal effectiveness plan to develop the knowledge, skills, and proven abilities necessary to become a retail supervisor

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.
Graduates of our Retail Supervisor program can take the National Restaurant Association (NRA) ServSafe Food Handler online training course and certification exam at no additional cost. This certification is required for anyone working in a retail environment that requires food handling.
Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details
Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Short Lessons
Easy-to-Access Lessons
Each lesson is broken into short chapters that allow you to fit learning into whatever time you have available. Don’t have time to finish a lesson? Not a problem - pick up where you left off next time!
Digital Flashcards
Digital Flashcards
A fun and interactive way to test your knowledge before your exams. Find out what information you've mastered, and what material needs additional review.
Penn Foster Sample Lesson

Sample Retail Supervisor Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Retail Supervisor lesson would look like.
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
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Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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