) and Babies 'R' Us chains. These items add up to several hundred million dollars in sales annually.
Products are what drive customers to a store, so merchandising is nearly always valued as the heart of a retailer. Merchandising divisions at all retail companies, from Home Depot (HD
) to Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY
), typically have two components.
First, you have the more creative merchandisers (or buyers, as they're often called) who decide what products go into the stores, how they'll be priced, and how those items will be stacked in our aisles and on our shelves. Planners, by contrast, run the analytical side of the business, deciding how much to order, when to send it to stores, and which stores to send the items to. Success in retail relies on both.
TYPICAL WORK DAY:
7:30 a.m. -- I'm usually in my car, switching between Bloomberg Radio and NPR, weaving my way through traffic from Hoboken to Wayne, N.J., where Toys 'R' Us' headquarters is located. Several colleagues live in New York City, but my husband and I figured Hoboken would be an easier commute for both of us -- he works in Midtown Manhattan, a quick ferry ride away.
8:15 a.m. -- At my desk, I respond to about a dozen e-mails and voice mails I've received overnight. I check sales in our centralized data system to make sure that the new child-safety gate we just began selling is performing as planned.
9:00 a.m. -- Time for our weekly meeting with the dot-com group to check inventory status and sales. We often use Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com to test new items, new price points, and new fabrics and colors.
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