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Merchandisers are responsible for deciding which goods to stock in which shops and how they should be displayed. In large retail companies, merchandisers are likely to be dealing with one range of products. In a smaller retail company they may be responsible for both the buying and merchandising (see Buyer profile).
Merchandisers predict trends and fashions and decide which products are most likely to appeal to customers. They analyse sales information, work out sales targets and plan how to increase profits. They visit suppliers or manufacturers to select goods. This is likely to involve working closely with retail buyers. They negotiate a price, order the goods, agree a delivery date, complete all the necessary paperwork, and keep in touch with suppliers to make sure that the goods arrive on time.
Merchandisers work closely with visual display staff and department managers to decide how goods should be displayed to best attract customers’ attention. This might involve planning and setting up sales promotions and advertising campaigns. In some organisations this is a separate role carried out by a visual merchandiser (see Visual Merchandiser profile).
Merchandisers may also travel to different stores to discuss how well the stock is selling, and make decisions about whether to withdraw, increase or move the stock to another store. Computers play an important part in the work – they are used to handle sales statistics, produce sales projections and present spreadsheets and graphs.
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