Wholesale manager
Business & Corporate

Wholesale managers plan and direct the efficient movement of goods from the manufacturer to the consumer. They also plan budgets and timescales for the distribution of goods. They may negotiate the purchase of goods, control stocks, arrange storage and transport and can be responsible for the marketing of goods.

Work Activities

Wholesale Managers may specialise in particular types of goods such as clothing, groceries or electrical goods. They receive them in bulk from manufacturers and distribute them in smaller packaged quantities to outlets such as shops, stores and supermarkets.

Typical job responsibilities include:

  • Organising staff and controlling the flow of goods within a wholesale business
  • Purchasing large quantities of goods from manufacturers and supplying them to retail organisations
  • Negotiating with suppliers to get the best deal possible
  • Importing goods from manufacturers in other countries
  • Supervising the work of staff in a wholesale organisation
  • Delivering goods to customers' premises
  • Being responsible for the receipt, storage and sale of all goods within the wholesale business
  • Being responsible for the goods which are stored in a modern, computerised warehouse
  • Being responsible for computerised scheduling, management of goods in the warehouse and stock control systems
  • Dealing directly with customers and handling their queries or complaints
  • Managing budgets, arranging transport and making efficiency improvements
  • Being responsible for the recruitment, supervision, motivation and sometimes training of staff

Wholesale managers are usually based in an office, though they may have to travel to meetings with clients. They usually work a basic 40 hour week from Monday to Friday but they may be required to work weekends, evenings or early mornings. The work can be pressurised at times and can involve difficult decisions.

Wholesale managers may specialise in a particular range of products or supply a single, large-scale retailer. In larger companies it is possible to progress to more senior management roles.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for wholesale managers

  • Excellent organisational and planning skills as you will need to prioritise tasks to meet deadlines
  • Able to handle complex information and make quick decisions
  • Able to manage and motivate people
  • Excellent IT and numerical skills
  • Able to solve problems using sound judgement
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Sound negotiating skills

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of wholesale managers

Examples of typical employers of wholesale managers include:

  • A Wholesale Organisation
  • A Retail Organisation
  • A Manufacturer offering a wholesaling service

Most wholesale businesses are located in and around cities and larger towns, sometimes on industrial estates.


Qualifications and training required

Many larger organisations recruit trainees with a Degree, HND or Foundation Degree. Preferred degree subjects would include Business Studies, Maths or Statistics, Business Administration, Marketing, Economics or Financial Management.

Entry into a degree course requires a minimum of 5 GCSEs grades 9 – 4 (A*- C) and 2 A levels. For entry at HND level one A level is required. There are no formal entry requirements for a Foundation Degree but students will need to be able to show that they can cope with the academic content of the course.

A BTEC National Level 3 qualification in a relevant subject e.g. Business Studies would also be acceptable for entry to a Degree, HND or Foundation Degree.

New recruits to larger companies usually undertake an in-house training programme. This involves gaining experience in various departments such as stock control, buying and provisions. Trainees would also work towards NVQ Certificates or Diplomas in Management at levels 3, 5 and 7, a Certificate in Logistics Operations at level 2 or 3, or a Diploma in Warehousing and Storage at level 3. It is possible to enter a training programme with some GCSEs and a background in wholesale, retail or supply chain operations. However, this is a lengthy training route.

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