Merchandisers play a key role within a company as profitability can be affected by how successfully they undertake their work.
Retail merchandisers are responsible for ensuring that the right amount of goods are available in store and are being sold at the right price. Through shrewd planning, careful purchasing and sensible promotions profits can be enhanced. Merchandisers also assess the needs of individual stores and how they might differ based on factors such as store size and their target demographics.
Typical responsibilities of the job include:
- working closely with buyers and other merchandisers to plan product ranges
- meeting with suppliers, distributors and analysts
- managing budgets
- predicting sales and profits
- negotiating quantities and delivery time-scales
- supervising and training junior staff
- managing levels and distribution of stock
- handling supply/production problems as they arise
- setting stock promotions/price reductions as appropriate
- making financial presentations to senior managers
- assessing sales performance of different ranges
You can find out more about what life in merchandising is like by reading our overview of merchandising. If you want to explore your options, you can also find overviews of eight other careers in retail in our retail job roles explained section, including visual merchandising.
Read how Tejal Raichura, a merchandiser for Next, got a job in merchandising and her tips for following in her footsteps here.
Retail merchandisers will usually work for the fashion industry, in national and independent stores and, with the continued rise of online shopping, internet shopping providers.
Vacancies are advertised by TARGETjobs, careers services, specialist recruitment agencies, in national newspapers and publications such as Retail Week, Retail Moves and The Appointment, and their online equivalents. Speculative applications can be beneficial and should be sent to the merchandising department of major employers.
- Strengthen your job applications by reading our tips on how to write a great graduate retail CV.
- Find out what salary you might earn as a graduate in retail.
There are routes into a retail merchandising career for both university graduates and school leavers, although there are generally fewer opportunities available for school leavers. Graduates can enter the profession with a degree in any discipline, though a qualification in a related subject such as business, marketing, accountancy or management can be advantageous.
Relevant retail or office work experience is often necessary. This can be gained via vacation placements, part-time sales assistant jobs or general graduate store management training programmes.
- Find out which retail employers accept graduates with a 2.2 degree.
- Use our guide to retail work experience to help you explore your options.
- Find out why a part-time retail job is a valuable experience and read our list of the top ten skills you gain from working in part-time retail jobs.
To find out about how you can get into this career via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver training programme), see the retail, buying and fashion section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
- commercial awareness
- able to cope with pressure
- teamworking skills
- communication skills
- interpersonal skills
- leadership skills
- strong numerical and analytical skills
- IT skills
- decision-making skills
- organisational skills
For more information on the skills you’ll need, read our article on the five skills retail employers look for – and how you can prove that you possess them.