10 Best Retailers To Work For

best retail companies for jobsStores are hiring droves of new employees this season to help handle the holiday frenzy. In October alone, retailers added 141,500 jobs, according to the employment services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. As many jobless, underemployed, and cash-short Americans join the retail sector as fall fades to winter, it's a good time to see which retailers get the most love from their employees.

The jobs and career community Glassdoor is here to help on this front. Using the 20,000 retail company reviews in its database, Glassdoor has compiled a list of the 10 retailers whose work environments earned the highest marks from their employees (on a scale of 1 to 5, very dissatisfied to very satisfied).

The Top 10 Highest-Rated Retailers


Employee satisfaction rating: 4.0

What They Pay (on average)

  • Sales associate: $10.44 an hour
  • Inventory specialist: $9.83 an hour
  • Cashier: $10.07

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • "Seriously the best retail job you could ever find! Fun interview process and great people," says one REI customer service specialist."
  • Recreational Equipment Inc. is, as you may know and could probably guess, a sporting and recreational equipment chain. Last year the Wisconsin-based retailer made Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list, and employees can tell you why.
  • The company offers higher pay, benefits and better discounts than most competitors, claims one sales representative, as well as huge discounts off of pricey equipment like bikes and kayaks. It's a dream job for an outdoor enthusiast, although some complain that it is difficult to climb to the top at REI when you start at the bottom.

-- Find jobs at REI

j crew2. J. Crew

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.9

What They Pay (on average)

  • Sales associate: $9 an hour

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • The salespeople at this New York-based haven of prep rave about the pay, the perks, and the casual work culture. Something must have shifted at J. Crew in the past year, because it has the third-most-improved rating in Glassdoor's database, jumping up from 3.4 last year.
  • "The employees are like family -- fun and friendly," says one sales associate. The main complaint employees shared wasn't even about J. Crew in particular. "Retail as a whole can be boring," said one employee from Richmond, Va.

-- Find jobs at J. Crew

wayfair3. Wayfair (formerly CSN Stores)

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.8

What They Pay (on average)

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • Wayfair is the second largest online-only retailer of housewares and furnishings in the U.S., as well as one of the country's fastest-growing private companies. It ballooned by 50 percent last year, and also climbed by an amazing 1.4 points in employee satisfaction. Wayfair's doing something right.
  • Many of the employees now working under the Wayfair banner feel well-treated by the company, and say there are many opportunities for growth. Some admitted, however, that answering the phones as a customer service rep can get a little draining, and that they weren't compensated enough for their labors.

-- Find jobs at Wayfair

costco4. Costco Wholesale

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.8

What They Pay (on average)

  • Sales assistant: $11.56 an hour
  • Stocker: $12.24 an hour
  • Cashier: $15.63 an hour

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • Fortune magazine ranked Costco as one of the "World's Most Admired Companies" in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The recession was especially kind to Costco. As families trimmed budgets, Costco cut prices, began accepting food stamps, and drew customers away from rival Wal-Mart. The wholesaler's revenue has increased every year since 2009. Its employee satisfaction has risen too, from 2.6 in 2010 to 3.8 this year.
  • Employees love the pay, benefits, job security and the workout. Some complain, however, about a lack of upward mobility, weak incentives to work hard, and the workout.

-- Find jobs at Costco Wholesale

5. Lakeshore Learning Materials

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.7

What They Pay (on average)

  • Sales associate: $10 an hour

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • This toys and games retailer offers challenges to those who want it. "Just raise your hand and say 'I'd like to try that.' You may have to earn it, but they'll give ya a shot," says one employee.
  • "Super casual work environment ... keeps the stuffiness out of the workplace," adds another. But it's not so super casual that you can slack off. "Management's expectations are high," says one worker, "and they do not mess around if someone is not meeting these expectations."

-- Find jobs at Lakeshore Learning Materials

6. Sleepy's

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.6

What They Pay (on average)

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • "The Mattress Professionals" are apparently exactly that: professional. The training is supposedly excellent, and employees rave about the camaraderie and warmth on the sales floor.
  • But sometimes there aren't a lot of people on that sales floor, according to a few sales reps, and there's plenty of downtime. Also, weekends and evenings are allegedly where the money is, which can irk employees who don't want to sacrifice that time.

-- Find jobs at Sleepy's

nordstrom7. Nordstrom

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.5

What They Pay (on average)

  • Sales associate: $12.60 an hour

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • This Seattle-based department store was voted one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by Fortune magazine last year. It offers great pay and benefits, and a job there is an excellent opportunity "to learn how to deal with different types of customers," says one sales associate.
  • While some employees consider its management supportive, others complain that it doesn't communicate well, and that it can also get a little cutthroat at Nordstrom as employees battle it out for a sale.

-- Find jobs at Nordstrom

buckle8. Buckle

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.4

What They Pay (on average)

  • Sales associate: $7.22 an hour

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • Forbes magazine selected this upscale fashion store as 24th among America's "Best Small Companies" this year. Employees rave about the 40 percent discount, commission, fun work environment, and management that's understanding of your personal schedule.
  • Some employees are bothered by the loss of base pay, however, and say that there are sometimes petty arguments and dramas among their "shark-like" associates. And while the discount is generous, most of the brands that The Buckle carries remain a stretch to afford at this wage scale. (Those $150 jeans are still $90).

-- Find jobs at Buckle

9. Container Store

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.4

What They Pay (on average)

  • Sales associate: $12.59 an hour

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • The Container Store invented a whole new category of retail in 1978: storage and organization. And people loved it. The store has grown by 20 percent every year since.
  • Employees love it too. For four years in a row, Fortune magazine has listed the retailer among its "100 Best Companies to Work For." Working there is a dress-down affair, with competitive pay and solid foundational values. Although a few employees point out that "what they preach and what they practice aren't always in sync."

-- Find jobs at The Container Store

pottery barn10. Pottery Barn

Employee satisfaction rating: 3.4

What They Pay (on average)

  • Sales associate: $9.12 an hour

Why It's So Great To Work For

  • "Beautiful surroundings," says one employee about this San Francisco-based home furnishings chain. There are great discounts and, as one sales associate put it, "Everyone seems like they truly want to be there when they come to work."
  • Employees have a few criticisms for management, however. Sometimes they are sent home when sales are slow, or asked to stay longer when traffic is high. "They control your time without paying you," remarked one sales associate.

-- Find jobs at Pottery Barn

Next: Do A Background Check On Your Potential Employer

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I used to work in retail and I decided that I would never go back. There was nothing wrong with the work, I just wanted to start a career doing something else. I wish I would have seen this list back in those days though. I would have used it to apply to one of these places.


March 04 2014 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if you like your job you are way ahead of the game.

March 16 2012 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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