Merchandising & Buying
How do we keep our shelves brimming with products our customers just can’t resist? Behind the products we sell are the men and women in our Merchandising and Buying teams – working together to decide on our product strategy. Merchandising create plans to select and sell our products, while Buying find and buy great products out in the market. The working relationship between the two is paramount, which is why, on our European Graduate Programme, you will have a lot of exposure to buying whilst starting out in a merchandising role. As you hone your skills and progress your career, you’ll choose whether to pursue more opportunities in merchandising or potentially move into buying, E-commerce, store trading or even within other areas of the business. Either way, you’ll be on route to an exciting career.
You’ll need to balance your creative thinking with a sharp commercial focus. Our off-price business model means that things move faster than at other retailers, so you need to be agile and ready for whatever challenges come your way. We deal with vendors around the world, so you can expect an international outlook and the opportunity to build relationships across Europe. Experience with product or in fashion or retail isn’t required, but an interest is important if you’re going to deliver the gems that our customers love. Although merchandising and buying have distinct roles within the business, both give you the chance to act as an entrepreneur and make a big impact.
Merchandising is a real mix of creative planning, financials and analysis. Our merchandising teams anticipate consumer buying patterns and product trends, plan the volume of merchandise to be sent to stores, and interpret our sales performance to make commercial recommendations. Working closely with buyers means reviewing products, visiting stores, and ultimately ensuring that the right goods are in the right stores (and in the right quantities) at exactly the right time. The breadth of our business – and the fact that we have stores across Europe with different customer bases – makes merchandising at TJX a unique and exciting learning experience.
Buying is responsible for buying the products that we sell. Unlike most retailers, our buyers are always out in the market – empowered to make decisions and negotiate there and then, much like traders. This means they can stay very close to the business and be more flexible – as well as negotiate some fantastic deals. The relationships that our buyers build with our vendors are crucial to our business success.
You can find out more about the roles you could take on, and your development path, by clicking on the roles below.
Allocation Analyst – As an Allocation Analyst you’ll be assigned a specific product area and will be empowered to help drive sales by allocating the exciting mix of brands that the buyers have bought. You will do this by analysing sales trends and anticipating consumer buying patterns and product trends. You’ll use your sharp eye for detail and commercial thinking to make the most of business opportunities. You’ll also act as a liaison between our distribution centres and our buyers, as well as working to resolve any merchandise problems.
Senior Allocation Analyst – As your development continues, you’ll be responsible for a greater volume of your department’s business. This will mean taking on a mix of in-store and external priorities – planning, executing and evaluating store initiatives; keeping an eye on our competitors; and working with distribution centres. You’ll also coach a new Allocation Analyst.
Assistant Merchandiser – In this role, you’ll partner with management and buying to create and implement seasonal merchandising plans. At this stage, your responsibility to make financial decisions will increase significantly. Working with Analysts and Senior Analysts, you’ll create weekly shipping strategies, and will supervise the flow of merchandise to stores to make sure there is the most appropriate assortment for all stores in the chain. You’ll also evaluate current business trends in order to proactively make revisions to our plans.
Merchandiser – You’ll develop and implement seasonal plans for a business worth millions. You’ll decide the volume of merchandise to be shipped in a given week for each product type. You’ll partner with buyers and buying managers to create a department’s overall vision, and then bring it to life while maintaining fiscal responsibility. It will be up to you to make sure that sales and inventory plans are being achieved and that merchandise is being shipped to the appropriate stores. You’ll also take on a greater leadership role managing a team of up to six people, supporting them in their day-to-day work and on- going career development.
Associate Buyer – This will be your introduction to buying and will give you the chance to gain invaluable experience, analysing and identifying business trends while reporting directly to an experienced buyer. You’ll be responsible for a variety of tasks: vendor communications, store visits to critique merchandise mix; and make sure purchase orders are all dealt with efficiently. After around six months you’ll start using your negotiation skills to make buying decisions. At that point you’ll really start to build your relationships with our vendors, and travel will become more frequent too.
Buyer – Our buyers are entrepreneurial and empowered to make decisions on the products that we sell. You’ll be a global shopper, as our Buyers travel to over 60 countries building relationships with over 16,000 vendors. You’ll be responsible for millions of pounds or euros of revenue and will perform ongoing analysis to help develop strategies and drive sales. When you’re not out buying, you’ll be doing comp shops to critique merchandise and identify key opportunities.
AVP, Merchandise Director –
you’ll manage a large team of Merchandisers and Analysts. You’ll be
responsible for trading and business planning, strategy of product areas, and end-to-end ownership
and distribution of merchandise. Partnering with VP Buying Directors and Senior Management,
you’ll set both short and long-term trading and business objectives. AVP Merchandise Directors also
play an integral role in creating succession plans for our talent within Merchandising and Buying by
identifying and developing emerging leaders, and supporting them to achieve their goals.
AVP, Buying Manager – you’ll manage and lead a team of up to eight buyers. You’ll also be responsible for millions in revenue, and will provide training and career development of your buyers. Collaborating with Merchandising, you’ll develop strategic business and financial plans, as well as creating and maintaining a market presence by supporting buyer/vendor relationships to maximise negotiations. You’ll balance inventory levels through timely markdowns and frequently shop stores and the competition to critique the mix and assess value. It will also be up to you to execute sales and profit objectives within your division and meet the company’s goals.
VP, Buying Director – Overall accountability for a buying category worth 100’s of millions of pounds will be yours. Partnering with Senior Management, including the AVP Merchandise Director, you’ll set short and long-term business objectives. You’ll work closely with Merchandising to create financial plans, implement margins, and set sales goals. This will involve travel to both foreign and domestic markets to develop buyers and enhance vendor relationships. Importantly, you’ll play a critical role in identifying and building strategies for both current and future growth opportunities for TJX Europe.