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Intermediate Merchandising

This 3 day course provides a more in-depth study of the practical realities of merchandising in the fashion retail industry.

To undertake this course you should have either completed the FRA Introduction to Merchandising course, or have relevant experience of working in the fashion retail industry. A good understanding of this business function and the different elements involved is required. Experience of working with Excel is also essential as study will involve the use of mathematical formulae and calculations.

The principles and practises of merchandising are explored and specifically analysed in terms of how it is applied in different retail businesses, including e-retail.

The course will include:

  • Sales and forecasting
  • WSSI
  • The supply chain
  • Allocation and reconciliation
  • Practical exercises

If you wish to increase your knowledge of the merchandising business function, as a way of developing a career in merchandising, or you would like to progress in the industry, then this course is for you.

This course is ideal for any business wishing to develop their team by providing opportunities to fully explore this business functions. The course enables the development of new skills and explores important elements within fashion retail that will encourage team members to "think outside of the box" and develop new areas of learning. The following aspects of merchandising and buying are covered:


  • Sales Budgeting - 'Top down' and 'bottom up' planning is explained, along with the concept of sales densities. This section examines why a sales budget is needed, who is involved, how retailers forecast and which factors must be considered
  • Margin & Profitability - Sales and gross margin profitability theory, calculating a selling price, margin principles, mark up's, hidden costs and margin improvement.
  • Costing - The elements of product cost, the supplier's cost and cost sheets
  • Range Planning - Key areas of range planning: strategy, analysis and implementation. Product hierarchy, store grading, option planning and forecasting are examined in detail. Receiving at a warehouse, initial allocation, reconciliation of sales, stock and space, stock and sales reporting, replenishment algorithms, markdowns and WSSI reporting
  • Supply Chain, Calendars & The Critical Path - Supplier selection: an exploration of different types of suppliers, regional specialisms and skill sets, lead times, seasonal calendars and critical path formation
  • OTB - The meaning of OTB is explained, along with how it is calculated. Includes an explanation of the concept of 'weeks of stock cover'
  • WSSI - Discussion on the principles of the WSSI, what it is and who uses it. Includes a WSSI reporting exercise
  • Intake & Allocation - A look at how stock is received at the warehouse and how initial allocations are determined. Includes a detailed allocation matrix exercise
  • In-Season Trading - Stock and sales reporting is examined, along with actions taken to remedy adverse or favourable variances between planned and actual stock and sales
  • Markdowns - Examines planned and forced markdowns, using weighted average margin to calculate a markdown and estimating the effectiveness of a markdown

After completion of Introduction to Buying and Merchandising course or relevant head office experience at MAA or BAA level. Over 18.

Before the course begins it is preferable to have started your research into the UK retail market, by comparing the different retail locations and shopping areas of London. Specifically examine different types of stores, customers, prices, areas and merchandise, to give you initial insight into different retail environments.

Locations should include:

  • Oxford Street W1 - Flagship stores e.g. Gap, Topshop Department stores e.g. Selfridges, House of Fraser
  • Bond Street/Bruton Street W1 - High end fashion stores e.g. Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs
  • Westfield Centre - (White City or Stratford)

Please Bring:

  • Pen and notebook
  • Calculator
  • USB

3 Days: 10.00am - 4.30pm (including lunch break)

Next Dates:

Monday 20th - Wednesday 22nd April 2020

Monday 29th June - Wednesday 1st July 2020


£419 incl. VAT

Payment Options:

The easiest way to pay is online. Simply register for the course and pay using a debit or credit card.

Alternative payment options are available. If you'd like to pay by an alternative method (bank transfer, telephone payment, company invoice) please email us - - or call 020 3040 2884.

Full payment of the course fees must be received prior to commencement of the course. Your place on the course cannot be guaranteed until full payment is received. All fees stated are inclusive of VAT.

2. METHODS OF PAYMENT (excluding late applications)
Fees can be paid by credit card, debit card, cash or online. Payment by cheque is also accepted except in the two weeks prior to the course start date and please make all cheques payable to FRA Enterprises Ltd. Fees can be paid by cash if payment is made in person. Please see paragraph 20. Payments by bank electronic transfer or Banker’s Draft are acceptable. Our bank details are available on request. If your company is paying for the course fees and would prefer to be invoiced, please write to us on your company's headed paper and send a company purchase order with your booking form.

We cannot accept bookings from students under 18 years of age.

The course fee includes the cost of basic materials which will be provided. Please see the course description on our website for details of the additional materials which you will need, if applicable. Failure to bring the required materials will delay your progress on the courses


If there are places available on acourse we will accept bookings right up until the course commences and require payment in full on confirmation. If you apply within 5 working days of the course commencing we cannot guarantee that your booking will be confirmed. Late applicants will usually have their place on the course confirmed by email. If, however, you have not received confirmation within 24 hours of your application it is your responsibility to check the status of your booking which can be done by contacting the Short Course Office on 0203 040 2884.

Please note that courses have minimum attendance levels and may be cancelled if too few bookings are received. We reserve the right to amend or cancel courses. If we cancel a course we shall endeavour to give you at least one week's notice and you will have the option of transferring to another course or of having a full refund of the fees which we will return to you within three weeks. We will not be liable for any losses (including, but not limited to, travel and accommodation costs) arising as a consequence of any modification or cancellation of courses or time-tabling constraints as set out above beyond the cost of the course fee.

If you wish to cancel your place on a course your request should be made via email to If your written request is received more than one month prior to the course start date, you will be entitled to a full refund, less an administrative charge of £30 to cover our costs. If your written request is received within one month of the course start date you will not be entitled to a refund unless a replacement student can be found for your place. If a replacement student is found prior to the course start date, you will be entitled to a full refund, less an administrative charge of £30.

If you are unable to attend a course you are permitted to transfer your place to a substitute student up to one week before the start date. We must be notified via email of the substitute student's name and there is a £30 administration charge for each substitution. Substitutions cannot be accepted after the course has started.

You can transfer to another course up to one month prior to the course start date. There is a £30 administration charge for each transferral. Students can transfer a maximum of twice.

Non-attendance of classes due to illness or for personal/professional reasons does not provide the right to refunds, extra tuition or a transfer.

If a class is postponed for reasons for which we are responsible, including staff illness, we will make every reasonable effort to reschedule the class or to add the missed hours onto the remaining course classes. We apologise for this inconvenience and urge you to ring us on 0203 040 2884 if you have any concerns.

We shall not be liable for any failure or delay in the performance, in whole or part, of any or our obligations arising from or attributable to acts, events, omissions or accidents beyond our reasonable control including, but not limited to strikes, lock-outs or other industrial disputes (whether involving our workforce or the workforce of any other party), act of God, war, riot, civil commotion, malicious damage, compliance with any law or governmental order, rule regulation or direction, accident, breakdown of plant or machinery, fire, flood, storm, pandemics, epidemics or other outbreaks of disease or infection, failure in the public supply of electricity, heating, lighting, air conditioning or telecommunications equipment.

As we may need to contact you in the two weeks prior to the course start date, please ensure you include your contact details in the UK when making your booking. Please ensure that your place is confirmed and the course is running before you make any travel arrangements. We do not offer refunds for travel or accommodation costs in accordance with paragraph 7 above.

Students who book onto short courses are not eligible to apply for a Student Visa. We recommend you contact the British Embassy in your own country to check visa requirements before you book your course. If you cannot attend a course because you have not obtained a visa to enter the UK no refund will be offered although we will offer you a transfer (subject to the conditions contained in Clause 10 above) if your visa is delayed.


All classes are taught in English. Applicants whose first language is not English should note that they are required to be proficient in written and spoken English and be able to participate in group discussions and presentations in English. As a guideline we would expect you to have an IELTS score of 4.5 for practical courses and 6.0 for lecture courses.

Normally there are no Friday or Monday classes on bank holiday weekends and published course dates reflect this.

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and to recognise that other students also require support and assistance. If a student becomes persistently disruptive we reserve the right to offer a verbal or written warning and, if this does not resolve the situation, we may, at our discretion, ask the student to leave the course.

On completion of your course, and having attended the 90% or higher, the Fashion Retail Academy will provide you with a certificate of attendance. The name given on the booking form will be the one that appears on the certificate. A certificate of attendance is not a qualification.

If you do not receive your certificate at the end of the course for reasons that we are responsible for we will post certificates free of charge once the register has been returned to us confirming your attendance record. If you do not collect your certificate in class for reasons that we are not responsible for e.g. you miss the last class or leave early, we will post it to you (subject to you attending 70% of the course) but you must supply:

• Self addressed envelope
• First class stamp


If you require to pay for your course in cash, and the amount is over £500, you will be required to provide photo ID (preferably either a driving license or passport) which we will photocopy and attach to your booking form. All cash bookings requiring a refund will be required to bring photographic ID to collect a refund. This will be photocopied (if not already done when booking) when you come to pick up your refund. Please note that cash refunds can only be offered on weekdays between 10am and 4pm with 1 day notice. Please also refer to paragraph 7 above.

Due to copyrights, and to respect other participants, the use of audio and/or visual recording is not permitted during any course.

This website clearly describes the courses being run for FRA Enterprises Ltd. as maintained by Fashion Retail Academy. Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy but changes may have been introduced after publication since it is the policy of Fashion Retail Academy to constantly monitor its course offer as well as the performance and content of individual courses. Whilst every endeavour will be made to provide the courses and services described, FRA Enterprises Ltd reserves the right to make changes as appropriate for reasons of operational efficiency or due to circumstances, including industrial action, beyond its control. All course titles and descriptions are the copyright of FRA Enterprise Ltd at the Fashion Retail Academy. Registered Number 6793904.

Register now

For further information please email or call 0203 040 2884.

Meet The Tutor

Meet The Tutor

Bianca Foley, Buying and Merchandising Tutor.


"I have a BA (hons) in Human Geography from Queen Mary's college University of London. After years of working on the shopfloor on Saturdays and in holidays, my first head office role was as an allocator at BHS progressing from an allocator at BHS, to Planner at Duty Free Shoppers to Merchandise and logistics Director at Kurt Geiger for 9 years.

Completing an MBO, expanding internationally in Italy and France and launching the first e-commerce site at Kurt Geiger was exciting!"



Donna Cowley, Bravissimo.

"The course was good because much of the principles and theories that were discussed are in line with our business strategy. I enjoyed the structure and comprehensive teaching which was also interesting - once I grasped it!"

Testimonial 2

Testimonial 2

Dan Walcott, working at New Era, Intermediate Merchandising, May 2015.

"This course will help my career by giving me a more structured overview of the buying process. I enjoyed getting to speak to people in the retail buying business and I feel this will help me to become better in my role."



Career Development

Career Development

Attending an FRA short course and gaining shop floor experience, is a good way to approach looking for a job in head office . Having a passion for retail and researching the brands you would like to work fo,r is also essential. To succeed in buying you will need confidence, enthusiasm, professionalism, passion, commitment, a great eye for product, great people skills, presentation skills, creativity, multi tasking ability and hard work! The buyer’s day starts at 8.30 and will be varied, which is one of the exciting things about working in this field. Attending meetings is a regular part of the buyer’s week, either for trade, range sign offs, strategies, or with suppliers. Building your range, negotiating cost prices and deliveries, preparing for meetings and travelling for inspiration and sourcing ideas, is also a key part of the week. As a buyer you are the lynch pin of the team and will be working closely with your merchandiser, designer and QA.