Retailers are boosting their efforts to reduce turnover of store managers by cutting hours, increasing bonuses and providing extra compensation time.

This story first appeared in the December 3, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

According to a survey conducted by Career Management, an executive recruitment company, 80 percent of retailers said managers average less than 50 work hours a week. This compares with 55 to 60 hours a week in previous years.

The majority of store managers, 54 percent, put in 45 to 50 hours per week, 27 percent worked up to 44 hours, and 17 percent averaged 51 to 59 hours. Only 2 percent worked 60 hours or more.

The survey also found that store managers at 92 percent of the companies polled were eligible for performance bonuses. These bonuses were awarded on top of salaries, which for the most part averaged under $60,000.

“Although our experience has shown that base salaries for store managers have been on the rise, one could still argue that compensation is not commensurate with leadership positions at other businesses generating the level of annual revenues produced by stores,” said Lloyd Lipman, chief executive officer of Career Management and an adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in a statement. “Retailers have sought to shake their long-standing reputation as ‘mediocre players’ by offering considerable bonuses tied to store sales, profits, shrinkage and other metrics, along with a variety of other benefits.”

About 17 percent of the companies surveyed had a base pay of less than $40,000, while 31 percent pay between $40,000 to $49,000. Only 11 percent pay $50,000 to $59,000. Salaries averaged in the $60,000 to $69,000 range at 17 percent of the companies, while 10 percent were in the $70,000 to $79,000 range. Another 10 percent were in the $80,000 to 99,000 range, and just 4 percent awarded base salaries of more than $100,000.

A whopping 96 percent of the companies offer 401(k) plans for store managers and most offer liberal employee discount programs.

When it comes to compensatory time off and vacations, 38 percent offer comp time to store managers who exceed their allotted hours for the week. The typical vacation policy for store managers was two weeks after one year, three weeks after five years and four weeks after 10 years of service.

The survey of human resource executives at retail companies covered a range of compensation and benefits issues for store managers across all retail channels. Participating companies collectively operate more than 12,000 stores in the United States.