Fashion Careers

A Day In the Life of A Merchandiser


4th June 2020

Merchandisers are a key part of the fashion retail industry, yet it's not as well known as a buying career. There's currently a shortage of professional merchandisers, so strong candidates are in high demand and there's plenty of opportunity for rapid career progression. 

Being a fashion merchandiser requires an equal balance of analytical skills and creativity. You'll need to use your knowledge of trends to plan effectively, but also make strategic decisions that make good business sense. It's an exciting and highly rewarding role with fantastic opportunities for professional growth. 

The Role of a Merchandiser

A merchandiser works closely alongside both buyers and designers, with the ultimate goal of maximising profits for a fashion brand. They plan how many of each specific product ends up in stores, keeping to tight budgets and ensuring consistent stock flow.

Merchandisers are in charge of monitoring three seasons at once by:

  • Analysing past figures to see what’s worked historically and what hasn’t
  • Examining current sales figures to see what customers are buying
  • Forecasting and predicting future sales

Merchandising and buying are close-knit teams. Whilst a buyer acquires stock based on analysing trends, the merchandiser decides where and how this should be placed. It's important that buyers and merchandisers have an understanding of each other's roles in order to work together effectively. 

Some of the crucial responsibilities of a merchandiser include the following:

  • Managing budgets
  • Predicting sales and profits
  • Managing stock levels and distribution
  • Negotiating time scales and quantities
  • Meeting with suppliers and analysts

Want to read more about working as a fashion merchandiser

A Day in the Life of a Merchandiser

9am - Analysing Sales

Your day will most likely start at the office, where you’ll analyse which of your brand’s products have been performing best sales-wise that week. You’ll highlight any key learnings, then share these with the rest of your team.

11am - Team meetings

Mid-morning, you might have a meeting with the buyers and designers to have a chat about what next season’s range could look like. You’ll evaluate any emerging trends and also analyse past trading data to see what’s done well for your key demographic previously.

1pm - Competitor Research

After lunch, it’s time to take a closer look at what your competitors are doing. This might involve desktop research, or scouting the high street to see what’s around. Staying on top of what’s going on in the wider industry is key to being a successful merchandiser.

3pm - Check in with Suppliers

The afternoon might be spent catching up on emails. Depending on the brand you’re working for, it’s likely you’ll be liaising with suppliers and international offices.

5pm - Check Stock Levels

Before going home of the day, you’ll check in on stock levels at the distribution centre and chase any suppliers you haven’t heard back from to make sure you’re in a good place to start work the next day.

Getting Started as a Merchandiser

The fastest and most direct route into a merchandising career is by studying a relevant course. At the Fashion Retail Academy, we have several courses that teach you the fundamentals of fashion merchandising. Our courses are designed alongside our retail brand partners to teach you all the knowledge and skills you need to succeed on the job. Our courses also include an integrated industry placement to give you practical work experience that will help you stand out in interviews.

Our 22-week Level 4 Fast Track Buying and Merchandising is the fastest route into a career in buying o merchandising. It's ideal for those looking to break into a new area of fashion retail or quickly retrain. The course is delivered two days a week, meaning you can work part-time while you study. 

We also provide the UK's only accelerated fashion degrees. Our BA (Hons) in Buying and Merchandising Accelerated Degree course is designed to save you time and money compared to a traditional university degree. Taught over three teaching semesters a year instead of two, you'll graduate a year faster than your peers without compromising on how much you learn. 

If you'd like to work in the fashion industry but don't know where to start, our friendly Applicant Services team are always happy to talk through your options! Email us at or call on 0300 247 0039

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