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Retail merchandiser

Predicts and monitors sales trends and accurately controls stock levels.

Job description

Retail merchandisers are the link between buyers and the sales floor, ensuring the right stock is in the right place at the right time to maximise sales and margin performance. They decide which products department stores or supermarkets should stock. They ensure that the correct mix of products are stocked and displayed, in order to achieve greater sales and maximise profits. They liaise closely with buying and store operations teams to make sure the stock is properly monitored and available, stopping underperforming lines and increasing the stock of those products that are proving popular. This helps both the retailer and the manufacturer to maximise sales.

Many merchandisers move between merchandising and buying roles as the two are so closely linked.

Work activities

  • Communicating closely with buyers, store managers and suppliers
  • Deciding which products should be stocked for each type and size of store
  • Gathering information regarding customers' reactions to products
  • Accessing and analysing sales information
  • Forecasting sales and profits, and planning budgets
  • Monitoring slow sellers and ensuring that best sellers are meet their full potential
  • Ensuring that merchandise is displayed appropriately with proper signage and favourable shelf placement.

Work conditions

Travel: mainly office based work but can require some travel.
Working hours: can involve unsocial hours including weekends, evenings especially when opening new stores.
Location: mainly in larger towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: not common.

Typical employers

  • Large retail outlets
  • Department stores
  • Mail order firms
  • Internet retailers
  • Wholesalers.

Salaries

Salaries will vary depending on employer though can be very attractive. Non-pay benefits such as commission on sales, performance related bonuses, in-store and cross-store discounts, or company cars can top up your basic salary considerably.

Northern Ireland: Merchandisers can earn in the region of £20,000–40,000 a year. Senior merchandisers can earn salaries in excess of £50,000 plus benefits.

Entry requirements

Open to non-graduates and graduates of all disciplines.

Specific degree subjects required

  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Retail management

Postgraduate study

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not usually required.

Training

Store and head office based training is often complemented by in-service courses in management skills, technology and communication, and by placements in other departments, for example buying and distribution.

Tips for application

Experience of working in retailing is a definite advantage.

Skills and qualities

  • Excellent project management and organisational skills
  • Proficient at maths and excellent IT skills
  • Good at forecasting and paying attention to new and upcoming trends
  • Good negotiating and influencing skills
  • Commercial acumen
  • Ability to multi-task whilst working under pressure
  • Ability to develop strong relationships with suppliers to ensure smooth progression of products on a day-to-day basis
  • Customer focus
  • Ability to delegate; teamworking, motivational and leadership skills
  • Good verbal and written communication skills.