(He / Him)

Assistant Merchandiser

When I first joined, I was around the Buying team a lot and I loved the way they could just look at a product aesthetically and know if it was a winner. I didn’t have that skill, but I had something else. I’d always loved figures and I realised I could use numbers to tell a story. In my role as an Assistant Merchandiser, I’m constantly analysing, forecasting, and comparing data to tell what will sell. With Designers, Buyers, Technologists and Merchandisers working together, it’s like a fast-moving game in which we are all focused on getting the right product in front of the customer.

The best part is building the range. Right now, we’re looking forward to next summer and we get round the table and talk tactics. Maybe the sales figures show sandals are up and sliders are down, so we change the balance. We decide which products will go online, what might go into our Bluewater store, and what we’ll put into the smaller stores. And then we think about gaps in the range.

Once that decision is made, the work really starts on product design, licensing, supply chain, the whole thing. I need to think about how many we’ll buy and where we’ll sell them. But it’s so cool when you know your product will be out there on the shelves, in sixty stores, because of the work you did. And when the sales figures come in, you get another big rush, because they prove your forecasts were right.

Here in the Support Centre, we have over a thousand people on ten floors, all doing different things, but really focused on just one, which is to make customers happy. And the opportunities for career development are incredibly varied. Right now, I’m on the merchandising track, and loving it, but you go on the Food floor and it’s a whole new world. There are so many ways to go.

Whatever you want to do, the business is geared up to help you get there. The learning hub is amazing, full of stuff, but you are also surrounded by people who know so much. My line manager has been in the department for years and she just knows the kids’ clothing market inside-out, so you pick it up like a sponge. History is your friend!