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Merchandise Planner

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TITLE: Merchandise Planner
DEPARTMENT: Planning & Inventory Management

GENERAL SUMMARY: The Merchandise Planner is responsible for managing his / her department’s owned inventory as well as planning and forecasting that department’s business. This person will typically focus on 1-2 departments of medium volume / sku intensity and support others as needed. Key responsibilities are to maximize sales, gross profit, inventory turns, minimize markdowns and manage the open buy for several categories by analyzing financial, market, customer and supplier data.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:
1. Inventory Management
• Maximize sales and profit by managing a high in-stock rate of items that are owned by company.
• Deliver a weekly file of suggested orders to their buyers based on current on-hands, on-orders, sales rate, and forecasts. Deliver suggested orders, as well as ensure that they are translated into vendor purchase orders in a timely manner by partnering with the Merchandising and Inbound Supply teams.
• Maintain a clear level of communication with the Inbound Supply Coordinator to achieve the highest in-stock rate possible
• Determine inventory flows by item for the holiday season and ensure that these flows are within the confines of the overall operational constraints of our business
• Monitor owned inventory for items that are excessively aged or over-stocked; work with category manager and buyers to determine the optimal method to eliminate this inventory
• If price action is required, analyze the effect of the price change on gross margin.
• If liquidation, return to vendor or merchandise transfer is required, make sure that the inventory is auctioned appropriately by the Reverse Logistics team
2. Open to Buy Management
• Maintain data in the company Open to Buy (OTB) sheet: report total sales, owned sales, total margin, owned margin, receipts and on-orders
• Manage all inventory purchases to the OTB, and get approval for all purchases exceeding monthly allowance. Communicate the current status of the OTB to the Merchant team to maintain purchasing discipline.
• Own the OTB forecasts and will be responsible for presenting the sales, receipt and inventory forecasts and supporting action plans in the weekly OTB meeting
3. Plan Development / Sales Forecasting
• Develop seasonal plans by analyzing historical data and current trends to identify risks and opportunities within the assortment. Create pre-season sales, inventory and margin plans that support the product strategies of the department. Reconcile by comparing top-down to bottom-up plans.
• Re-forecast department’s sales and margin every week. Work closely with buyers and category managers to ensure that all forecasts have team buy-in. Recap and analyze actual sales results to plan on a weekly basis.
• Build daily sales and margin plans for departments which will be loaded into company-wide daily reports
4. Manage to an Open to Buy
• The planner will perform various tasks that help support his / her department. This includes but is not limited to: running custom reports to support the business; helping with line reviews; working with buyers to improve item-level forecasts; communicating with vendors on item-level forecasts.
• Work with the manager of merchandise planning to ensure that these tasks remain reasonably within the limits of the job
• Communicate financial results, forecasts and strategies in key meetings
• Support a collaborative, innovative and results-oriented environment with peers and cross-functional partners
• Develop and maintain effective working relationships with members of the cross-functional team (Merchandising, Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain Logistics)
• Prioritize and set expectations around key deliverables with cross-functional team and peers
• Develop cross-functional relationships to share best business practices

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