Retail Management

Category: Objective Test
Type: Individual


60-minute test administered during the NLC.

Objective Test Competencies: Retail Management Functions; Customer Value, Services, Retailing Technologies; Retail Planning and Management Process; Retail Environment; Evaluation and Identification of Retail Customers; Retailing Information Systems; Selecting the Appropriate Market and Location; Financial Aspects of Operations Management; Merchandise Buying and Handling; Human Resource Management in Retailing; Pricing in Retailing; Customer Service in Retailing; Laws and Ethics; Diversity and Trends

Skills: This event recognizes PBL members who demonstrate knowledge of the functions of retail management and the changing environment that affects retailing.


Objective Test

Objective Test Guidelines

  • No materials may be brought to the testing site.
  • Electronic devices must be turned off and out of sight.
  • Financial calculators may be used for accounting, finance, and analysis & decision making events; calculators will be provided for all other events.

The general event guidelines below are applicable to all national competitive events. Please review and follow these guidelines when competing at the national level. When competing at the state level, check the state guidelines since they may differ.


  • Dues: Competitors must have paid PBL national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 15 of the current school year.
  • NLC Registration: Participants must be registered for the NLC and pay the national conference registration fee in order to participate in competitive events.
  • Deadlines: The state chair, or designee, must register each state competitor on the official online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • Each state may submit three (3) individuals in all events requiring only objective tests and two (2) individuals or teams for all events that require a pre-judged or performance component.
  • Each competitor can compete in two (2) events.
  • Each competitor must compete in all parts of an event for award eligibility.
  • A team shall consist of two or three members. Exceptions are Parliamentary Procedure which must be a team of four or five members, and LifeSmarts which must be a team of two members.

Repeat Competitors

Competitors are not permitted to compete in an event more than once at the national level unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Modified Events: A competitor may compete in the same event when the event is modified. Note, if the only modification is a name change, competitors may not compete in the renamed event.
  • Team Events: One (1) competitor of the team may have competed in the same event at one (1) previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice in the event at the national level.
  • Chapter Events: Competitors may compete in a chapter event more than once (Community Service Project).
  • Individual Entry: A competitor who competed as an individual entry in a team event at the national level may compete in the same event a second time as part of a team, but not a second time as an individual.
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Two (2) competitors of the team may have competed in this event at a previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice at the national level.
  • Pilot Event: Competition in a pilot event does not disqualify a competitor from competing in the same event if it becomes an official competitive event. The participant may compete in another event as well as a pilot event.

Breaking Ties

  • Objective Tests: Ties are broken by comparing the correct number of answers to the last 10 questions on the exam. If a tie remains, the competitor who completed the test in a shorter amount of time will place higher. If this does not break the tie, answers to the last 20 questions will be reviewed and determine the winner.
  • Objective and Production Tests: The production test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Objective Tests and Performances: The objective test score will be used to break a tie based on the tie-breaking criteria of objective tests.
  • Reports/Projects and Performances: The report/project scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Performances: Judges must break ties and all judges’ decisions are final.

National Deadlines

  • State chair/adviser must register all competitors for NLC competitive events online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged components (report PDFs, resume/letter of application PDFs, and project URLs) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All URLs and PDFs for prejudged projects and reports will be submitted by the state adviser via the competitive events registration form.
  • All production tests must be received at FBLA-PBL by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
  • Desktop Publishing—the finished product must be uploaded in PDF format by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May. Label all documents with the event title, competitor’s name, state, and school.
  • All production tests must be uploaded online.
  • State chair/adviser may make name changes only (no additional entries) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June. Competitor drops are the only changes allowed after this date and onsite.

National Awards

The number of competitors will determine the number of winners. The maximum number of winners for each competitive event is 10. Only one (1) award is given to the schools competing in chapter events (Community Service Project and Local Chapter Annual Business Report).

Additional Materials

  • Financial calculators may be brought to objective testing and used for any accounting, finance, or analysis & decision making events.
  • Certain events may allow the use of additional materials. Please refer to event guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

FBLA‑PBL meets the criteria specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act for all participants who submit a special needs form.

Recording of Presentations

No unauthorized audio or video recording devices will be allowed in any competitive event. Participants in the performance events should be aware the national association reserves the right to record any performance for use in study or training materials.

Graduate Students

Graduate students may compete in all PBL events.


General Competitive Events Tips
Event Tips
Sample Practice Materials

Format Guide

Website Resources
Retail Management Functions
1. Describe the basic functions of retail management and give examples of how each function relates to the retail business.
2. Cite the principles of effective delegating and directing.
3. Describe the communication process and approaches to develop understanding.
4. Identify the dimensions of quality and be able to apply them to a retail company
5. Describe the special characteristics of retailing and the importance of developing a retail strategy.
6. Select tasks, jobs, and develop an organizational chart.
7. Discuss the supervision principles applied to a retail environment..
8. Describe the basic concepts of operations and financial management in retailing.
9. Describe the wheel of retaining, scrambled merchandising, and the retail life cycle and show how they can help explain the performance of retail strategy mixes.
10. Recognize and apply principles and procedures such as time management, technology, networking, and entrepreneurial thinking.
11. Recognize basic tenets of management theories (e.g., strategic management and operations management) and their importance in the successful operation of an organization.
12. Define retailing and describe the variety of decisions the retailers make to satisfy customer needs in a rapidly changing, highly competitive environment.
Customer Value, Services, Retailing Technologies
1. Discuss the impact of technology on relationships in retailing.
2. Explain the role and scope of the World Wide Web in retailing.
3. Identify the characteristics of Web users.
4. Administer RFID, EDI, and supply chain management.
5. Utilize online resources to research a vendor or retail company
6. Utilize e-mail to communicate with customers.
7. Describe the specific software available for communication and management applications.
8. Discuss applications in managing, organizing, and analyzing data.
9. Explain why retailing with an emphasis on customer service and relationship is the foundation of a successful business.
10. Describe the value-added approach to selling using the strategic/consultative selling model.
11. Explain what ‘value’ means and highlight its pivotal role in retailers’ building and sustaining relationships.
12. Discuss factors consumers consider when choosing stores and buying merchandise
13. Discuss the concepts of creating and maintaining a retail image from a service and a physical appearance perspective.
Retail Planning and Management Process
1. Describe how to set up a retail organization.
2. Describe the retail strategic planning and operations management model.
3. Explain the steps in strategic planning for retailers: situation analysis, objectives, identification of consumers, overall strategy, specific activities, control, and feedback.
4. Outline the components of strategic planning and develop a strategic plan for a retail opportunity.
5. Explain the nature of risk.
6. Define operations management and describe the operational scope of operations management
7. Describe asset management, including the strategic profit model, other key business ratios and financial trends in retailing.
8. Explain several specific aspects of operating a retail business: operations blueprint, store format, size and space allocation; personnel utilization; store maintenance, energy management, and renovation; inventory management; store security; insurance; credit management; computerization; outsourcing; and crisis management.
9. Describe the steps retailers go through to develop a retail market strategy.
10. Explain why retailers need to evaluate their performance of the financial strategy associated with the market strategy.
11. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of the different methods of communicating with customers.
12. Explain the responsibilities of a store manager and how they increase productivity and reduce costs.
13. Explain how store managers reduce inventory losses due to employee theft and shoplifting.
Retail Environment
1. Distinguish retailers and their activities from other marketing institutions.
2. Discuss retailers on the basis of ownership type and examine the characteristics of each including non-store-based and nontraditional retailing.
3. Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of each type of retail operation.
4. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each legal form of ownership.
5. Discuss two other non-traditional forms of retailing: video kiosks and airport retailing
6. Discuss the characteristics of the three major retail institutions involved with non-store-based strategy mixes: direct marketing, direct selling, and vending machines.
7. Explain the procedures involved in setting up a retail organization.
8. Identify the various organizational arrangements utilized in retailing.
9. Discuss retailer’s role in the supply chain.
10. Explain how retailers differ in terms of how they meet the needs of their customers
11. Explain how retailers are using multiple selling channels—stores, Internet, and catalogs—to reach their customers.
Evaluation and Identification of Retail Customers
1. Discuss why it is important for a retailer to properly identify, understand, and appeal to its customers
2. Discuss the concepts of customer demographics, life-styles, and identifying customer needs.
3. Discuss the concept of customer-driven strategic management.
4. Develop a format for evaluating customer service in a retail industry business.
5. Describe applications in effective communication to customer service situations.
6. Describe how to deal with difficult customers.
7. List and describe consumer demographics, lifestyle factors, and needs and desires—explain how these concepts can be applied to retailing.
8. Discuss consumer attitudes toward shopping and consumer shopping behavior, including the consumer decision process and its stages.
9. Develop a customer retention strategy and describe how retailers build customer loyalty.
10. Profile target customer.
Retailing Information Systems
1. Describe the retail information system, its components, and the recent advances in such systems
2. Recognize the importance of customer information.
3. Discuss applications in managing, organizing, and analyzing data.
4. Explain why retailers should avoid strategies based on inadequate information.
5. Discuss how information flows in a retail distribution channel.
6. Evaluate retail management information systems.
7. Describe what advanced information technology developments are facilitating vendor-retailer communications.
8. Explain why getting merchandise faster translates to stronger retailer profits.
Selecting the Appropriate Market and Location
1. Discuss the importance of store location for a retailer and outline the process for choosing a store location.
2. Explain the types of locations available to a retailer, isolated store, unplanned business district, and planned shopping center.
3. Describe the concept of the one-hundred percent location.
4. Discuss several criteria for evaluating general retail locations and the specific sites within them.
5. Describe a trade area, and why a retailer should choose one over another.
6. Describe three major factors in trading-area analysis: population characteristics, economic base characteristics, and competition and the level of saturation.
7. Determine how retailers forecast sales for new store locations.
Financial Aspects of Operations Management
1. Describe how retailers prepare, evaluate, and revise budgets.
2. Define asset management and resource allocation.
3. Compute financial ratios.
4. Explain tactics to improve cash flow.
5. Describe sources of financial funding (e.g., debt and equity).
6. Explain credit policy and the importance of credit management.
7. Explain terms related to financial statements and interpret.
8. Evaluate how a retail strategy is reflected in the financial objectives.
9. Explain the cost and retail methods of accounting.
10. Analyze retail financial statements and data to make long- and short-term financial decisions.
Merchandise Buying and Handling
1. Explain how the buying process is organized
2. Describe the major aspects of financial merchandise planning and management.
3. Describe what trade-offs retailers much make to ensure that stores carry the appropriate type and amount of merchandise.
4. Describe the steps in the implementation of merchandise plans: gathering information, selecting and interacting with merchandise sources, evaluation, negotiation, concluding purchases, receiving and stock merchandise, reordering and reevaluation.
5. Explain the considerations in devising merchandise plans: forecasts, innovativeness, assortment, brands, timing and allocation.
6. Explain how retailers evaluate their merchandising performance and determine the profitability of their merchandising decisions.
7. Describe the prominent roles of logistics and inventory management in the implementation of merchandise plans
8. Discuss information technology developments that facilitate vendor-retailer communications.
9. Explain how multi-store retailers allocate merchandise to stores.
10. Justify the importance of a collaborative supply chain relationship.
Human Resource Management in Retailing
1. Describe the process of recruiting and selecting sales people.
2. Determine what activities retail employees undertake, and how they are typically organized.
3. Explain what legal and ethical issues store managers must consider in managing their employees.
4. Describe the importance of employee motivation and employee relations.
5. Evaluate retail employees.
6. Communicate the rights and responsibilities of employees.
7. Describe the fundamentals of training, compensating, and motivating sales people.
8. Explain the management of human resources and how they play a vital role in a retailer’s performance.
Pricing in Retailing
1. Describe the role of pricing in a retail strategy and how pricing decisions much be made in an integrated and adaptive manner.
2. Discuss the impact of consumers; government; manufacturers, wholesalers, and other supplies; and current and potential competitors on pricing decision.
3. Develop a framework for developing a retail price strategy: objectives, broad policy, basic strategy, implementation, and adjustments.
4. Explain why some retailers have frequent sales while others attempt to maintain an everyday-low-price strategy.
5. Determine what pricing strategies retailers use to influence consumer purchases, demonstrate value to the customer, and capture value for the business.
6. Determine under what circumstances retailers’ pricing practices can get them into legal difficulties.
7. Describe and apply pricing strategies to determine prices.
8. Assess pricing strategies to identify needed changes and to improve profitability.
9. Identify the factors that influence the price of an item.
10. Determine the selling price of a product—calculate mark-up, mark-down, sales tax, and discounts.
Customer Service in Retailing
1. Develop customer service strategies.
2. Define what customer service is and the concept of customer satisfaction.
3. Discuss techniques for dealing with customer concerns, challenges, and objections.
4. Discuss presentation and customer contact skills in a variety of situations.
5. Describe how a retail store image is related to the atmosphere it creates.
6. Explain the elements of retail promotion: advertising, public relations, personal selling, and sales promotion.
7. Describe customer relationship management.
8. Explain how customer service can build a competitive advantage.
9. Explain how customers evaluate a retailer’s service
10. Explain what activities and services a retailer undertakes to provide high-quality customer service.
11. Explain how retailers can recover from a service failure.
Laws and Ethics
1. Define and give examples of the prohibitions concerning advertising, pricing and price fixing, product safety, product liability, financing, and warranties of goods and services.
2. Discuss the range of laws governing human resources including the areas of discrimination, sexual harassment, working conditions and OSHA, employment law, and government oversight.
3. Explain the legal rights and privileges of consumers and the role of consumer protection agencies.
4. Explain the purpose of a code of ethics, develop a code of ethics, and apply the code to various issues confronted by business.
5. Analyze factors influencing ethical decisions in business and apply ethical principles in specific business situations.
6. Describe the impact of government on business activities—taxes, supply and demand, and effect of fiscal and monetary policies.
7. Define conflict of interest.
8. Identify how the legal system works
Diversity and Trends
1. Differentiate between theories of retail institutional change.
2. Discuss ways in which retail strategy mixes are evolving.
3. Describe the trends that are shaping today’s retailers and their impact.
4. Describe what factors will affect the growth of electronic retailing.
5. Explain how technology might affect the future shopping experience.
6. Determine how and why retailers manage diversity among their employees.


PBL Program of Study


States may submit up to 3 entries.
Competitors must be registered for NLC and pay registration fee.
Competitors must pay dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 15.


Test: 1 hour