10 May, 2017

MAKING DECISIONS THAT IMPACT THE BOTTOM LINE

Merchandisers at M&S make sure that stock flows through the business and is available where it is most likely to sell. Naturally that keeps our customers happy, but Merchandising is also an analytical, detail-intensive role that helps us achieve our profit targets and stay ahead of our competitors.

As a Merchandiser, Faye’s main responsibility is to develop and implement commercially profitable product strategies. “We’re involved at every stage of the buying cycle,” she explains, “from lessons learned to building and budgeting the range, placing orders and ensuring the product arrives in the store at the right time and in the right quantities. My role also involves analysing and acting on sales performance. Should we increase stock levels? Why isn’t a product selling as well as expected?”

Each day is different. Faye, like every Merchandiser, works closely with Buyers, Technologists and Designers, and strong relationships between the teams are key. A typical day for her could involve meeting suppliers, visiting stores to see our latest ranges or planning a budget - and she loves being involved in the full lifecycle of a product through to its arrival in store.

And that’s not all. “The job is always exciting and fast paced,” she says. “We get to make key decisions that really shape the overall success of the business. It’s our job to seek out opportunities to maximise sales while mitigating risk to deliver sales growth and maximise profit. Believe me, getting a sales reaction on a product you have bought is always exciting!

“It’s all about putting the customer at the heart of every decision made. We work hard to create truly innovative and special products of amazing quality that customers want to buy time and time again. We inspire each other as a team by brainstorming and challenging ideas to develop the most commercial strategy.”

Faye started on our graduate scheme, attracted by the strong M&S heritage and our presence on the high street, as well as our reputation for offering our people lots of responsibility and outstanding training and development. After learning the principles of merchandising (largely through on-the-job experience) Faye progressed within Lingerie to Junior Merchandiser, where she specialised in Bras. Her promotion to Merchandiser in Jewellery is a recent one – a challenge she’s relishing.

So how have we helped Faye to progress?

“When I started, I couldn’t get over how friendly and supportive everyone was. I was also given a first-class training schedule which set me up well for my induction week. Training on the graduate scheme has been really in depth and detailed, and having a great team and manager has been hugely supportive – the help of others has given me the confidence to progress and take on extra responsibilities.”

Faye is very clear about what it takes to succeed in Merchandising. “You’ve got to have an analytical mind and strong commercial instinct. You have to see things through the eyes of the customer. And because you’re liaising with so many different areas of the business, great communication skills are important, too.”

Think you’ve got what it takes to thrive in Merchandising? Check out our current vacancies here.

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