Some managers in retailing, as well as other industries such as food service and construction, tend to be less formally educated. They earn their positions through what I call "battlefield promotions," and we reach a point where we have directors, vice presidents and above who perform at a very high level and are extremely intelligent with a wealth of practical experience--but little, if any, college. Are there any opportunities for them to enter M.B.A. programs?
Retailing is the selling of goods directly to the public.
"Battlefield promotions" is what happens during war, when officers are getting killed and others must be immediately promoted right there in the field. It is unfortunately true that it is easier to "rise through the ranks" (there's another expression for you) in wartime than in peacetime.
These managers have gone to the "school of hard knocks" in lieu of obtaining the usual credentials :)