The median hourly wage of retail salespersons was $9.94 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half of the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.75, and the top 10 percent earned more than $18.54.
The median hourly wage of parts salespersons was $13.88 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.77, and the top 10 percent earned more than $23.12.
Compensation systems vary by type of establishment and merchandise sold. Retail sales workers get hourly wages, commissions, or a combination of the two. Under a commission system, they get a percentage of the sales they make. This system offers sales workers the opportunity to increase their earnings considerably, but they may find that their earnings depend strongly on their ability to sell their product and on the ups and downs of the economy.
Many retail sales workers work evenings and weekends, particularly during holidays and other peak sales periods. Because the end-of-year holiday season is often the busiest time, many employers limit sales workers’ use of vacation time between November and the beginning of January. About 37 percent of retail salespersons worked part time in 2010.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition