Our huge range of products doesn’t just need to excite and inspire customers, it must also be profitable.  That’s where our commercially focused Merchandising team come in.  It’s their challenge to manage stock in order to hit financial targets such as sales, profit and stock turn and to make sure the stock is in the right place at the right time.

A huge amount of strategic planning goes into deciding what products are placed in what branches and the shape of the ranges we offer in store and the merchandisers work with the buyers, space planning and retail, to achieve this.

An affinity with numbers and a passion for trading are vital qualities in merchandising.  You will need to have strong analytical skills, strong planning skills and the capacity to work to deadlines and targets.  You must be a strong team player and a strong communicator.  Strong commercial awareness about John Lewis and the wider retail industry is also a must and an understanding of the trends in the market.

Your journey into Merchandising will start at an entry-level position as a Merchandising Assistant.  From day one you will be supporting the management of over £250,000 of stock a week, across a wide range of products and suppliers.  You will be supported by training and development that will help you grow in your role, at a pace that suits you.  In this fast paced environment you may be moved to different offices to gain the broadest experience possible.

From reports and data you will be expected to identify any opportunities for sales and any risks to stock and profits.  You may be called upon to negotiate with suppliers to get more stock of great selling products, or to negotiate out of stock commitments on poor selling lines to reduce any risk to our profits.

Once you have developed your understanding of the core merchandising role you will be ready to take on more responsibility and work towards the role of Assistant Merchandiser.  With this role you would have line management duties with responsibility for delivering all the key targets and delivering excellent stock management as well as identifying new ways of working and process changes.

From here you can work towards becoming a Merchandiser, with accountability for a large stock and sales turnover, a larger team and the joint strategic direction for your department (with the buyer).

There are a number of other roles in the Partnership where similar skills are required including Space Planning or Store Planning.  But don’t confuse this role with being a Visual Merchandiser!


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Roles in John Lewis Merchandising include Merchandising Assistants, Assistant Merchandisers, Merchandisers and Heads Of Merchandising. These Partners are passionate about the products they work with, they thrive on the fast pace of the business and relish that they help shape the direction of our business. In Waitrose, candidates who are highly numerate and have analytical skills may be suited to Space Manager or Store Planning roles.

To find out more about opportunities in our Merchandising departments at John Lewis, have a look at the video below.

Visit the Fashion Retail Academy website. The FRA is the leading vocational college for specialist fashion retail courses.   Founded by the Industry 10 years ago,  their 12 week to one year courses are exclusive and offer the fastest route to a fashion retail career; 90% of their graduates progress to  a role in fashion retail.   Courses include Visual Merchandising, Marketing, Digital, Buying and Retail Management.

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