What Is the Job Description for a Merchandising Manager?

Read about the job duties of merchandising managers, from finding new products for a store to managing a sales staff. Get info about educational options for entering this career field, and check the job outlook and salary potential. Schools offering Fashion Design & Merchandising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Merchandising managers generally work in a retail or department store environment as a member of the management team. As a merchandising manager, you would be responsible for buying items and products, such as fashion and apparel, for your store. You would work with your store manager and department leaders to choose profitable types of merchandise.

Since you'll be buying merchandise from those selling the items you wish to stock, you might have to negotiate buying and selling prices. You'll also be responsible for working with your store's staff to make sure that they are knowledgeable about prices, in addition to keeping track of sales and figures. For a successful career, you should have strong customer service and management skills, as well as detailed knowledge of the products you sell.

Important Facts About Merchandising Managers

Similar Occupations Purchasing managers, marketing managers, food service managers
Work Environment Usually a combination of office work and retail sales floor settings
Key Skills Analytical skills, attention to detail, communication skills
On-the-Job Training Merchandising managers typically get 1 year of hands-on training to learn their job duties

Education

If you're interested in merchandising management, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends that you earn at least an associate's or a bachelor's degree in merchandising, marketing, or management. An associate's degree in fashion merchandising could be of interest to those who want to work for a department store, outlet store, or other type of fashion company. During the program, you can expect to take such courses as economics, merchandise buying, management, computer applications, and marketing. Associate's degree programs in merchandising provide instruction on the fundamental basics of merchandising management and prepare interested students to transfer into a bachelor's degree program.

If you choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising, be prepared to take more advanced classes in economics, pricing strategies, communication, textiles, advertising, and possibly fashion design. You can also expect to compile a portfolio showing the work that you completed during the program or participate in an internship at a retail store. Some bachelor's degree programs include field visits to trade shows or manufacturing companies.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS predicted that the employment of purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents will likely increase by four percent between 2012 and 2022, with much of the growth dependent on the current state of the economy. More specifically, wholesale and retail buyers, such as those working for retail stores, will probably see job opportunities grow by about seven percent during the same decade. While the success of this particular industry is reliant on consumer spending, wholesale and discount stores are expected to see increased growth. Because merchandising management is an advanced field, employers prefer candidates with higher education. The BLS reported the median annual salary earned by a purchasing manager as $106,090 in May 2014.

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