What Is a Merchandise Associate?

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Generally, a merchandise associate at a retail store is in charge of making sure that the wares are neatly arranged on shelves, constructing displays for aisles, attiring mannequins, checking prices and tags for accuracy and placing new orders as needed. However, on busy days, an associate might also serve customers, run price checks, handle cash registers and carry products out from the stock area to the sales floor.

Although employers usually want new merchandise associates to have a couple of years of experience in retail sales, merchandising or inventory, the average pay of the position is fairly low, averaging to a yearly salary of $23,000 in 2013. However, they make more in areas like New York, according to Indeed.com. Also, higher levels of experience going into the job often lead to higher beginning wages, and positive performance reviews generally lead to higher pay as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that retail sales jobs, including positions for merchandise associates, are likely to go up by 17 percent between 2010 and 2020, primarily caused by an improved economy and population increases. The largest boosts in job numbers are supposed to be in mass merchandising companies rather than department stores.