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Associate Buyer (Retail)

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Our retail client has an exciting opportunity for an Associate Merchandise Manager to support the overall strategy and objectives established by the Merchandising Manager. The talent will collaborate with a cross-functional team and a vendor partnership team to implement strategies including developing financial models, creating assortments, developing merchandise presentation, developing and executing effective advertising plans, and managing product mix, pricing, gross margin, sales, promotional expenditures, GMROF and GMROI.

Essential Job Functions:
1. Develop business plan and objectives for assigned sub-category that are aligned with overall category strategic plan and with the brand's customer value proposition to exceed customer expectations and financial budgets. Set business plan objectives and goals for sales, margin dollars, and margin percent. Share the vision for assigned merchandise category strategy with direct reports, cross-functional team members, other business partners and vendors as appropriate. Ensure goals and priorities are aligned with category strategic plan. Use objective means to monitor progress toward those goals. Coordinate team members to meet timelines.
2. Establish and maintain strategic relationships with all internal and external stakeholders including internal management, cross-functional teams, subordinates, internal business partners and vendors.
3. Negotiate profitable product costs and contract terms (including leveraged inventory, returned goods allowances, etc.) with vendors to achieve sales and margin goals for assigned sub-category(s).
4. Based upon knowledge of products, customer trends and market factors, utilize the category review process to identify key factors affecting the performance of assigned sub-category. Collaborate with and provide direction to cross-functional teams to ensure the development and appropriate utilization of financial models, assortment analysis/planning, and replenishment, merchandise analysis and pricing analysis. Review sales by item and sub-category to determine whether appropriate profit margins are being maintained. Develop innovative solutions to tactical and operational problems and roadblocks.
5. Make decisions within the framework of strategic initiatives and tactical imperatives. Drive the selection and development of new products. Oversee the analysis of current internal trends and market factors to forecast the success of new merchandise items. Partner with private label sourcing to develop programs that meet these objectives.
6. Partner with Inventory Management, Assortment Planning and Logistics to ensure proper product allocation and inventory levels in both stores and distribution centers.
7. Participate in and/or conduct meetings and presentations in various formats; formal and informal, planned and impromptu.
8. Prepare Field and Operations communications to provide proper information on special issues/concerns.
9. Develop advertising plans and promotions with vendors to drive sales and margins consistent with category financial plans. Partner with advertising and visual presentation teams to maximize impact of promotions.
10. Ensure all activities are in compliance with federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances.
11. Interact professionally and effectively through verbal and written communication with all professional contacts with emphasis on company interests.
12. Independently prioritize and accomplish multiple tasks within established timeframes.
13. Demonstrate and possess empathy towards animals and love of pets.
14. Travel by plane and car domestically to meet with vendors and attend conferences and meetings.

Education and Experience:
A bachelor's degree preferably in marketing or merchandising and a minimum of 3-5 years progressively responsible professional level experience in merchandising as a buyer or category manager in a superstore, mass market or specialty national or large regional, multi-unit retail chain store is required. An equivalent combination of education and related experience may be substituted. Experience should include inventory management, product assortment, and vendor negotiations. Additionally, this position requires a demonstrated strong working level of knowledge and competency in the following areas with the ability to:
- Collaborate with and provide direction to a cross-functional team without direct authority.
- Persuade and motivate others with the ability to flex style as the situation requires.
- Accomplish goals through partnerships built on mutual trust, fairness, integrity and honesty.
- Partner and negotiate effectively with vendors and internal associates.
- Understand and communicate with a diverse set of leaders and associates at various levels and within various functional areas that impact their sub-category.
- Manage multiple responsibilities with the talent to shift center of focus from one task to another with minimal challenge.
- Develop long-range plans for assigned sub-category based on sound knowledge of category and corporate expectations.
- Maximize sales and profitability.
- Business acumen and analysis skills necessary for proper financial management of the assigned sub-category including the ability to control financial metrics required to achieve profit objectives.
- Advanced computer skills are required including MS Office Suite and the ability to learn and utilize internal applications.

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