Merchandise Planner

Merchandise planners are responsible for the planning and control of the product range of a retail company. They are key players in the purchasing environment of a retail company.

This is a high profile activity which involves financial seasonal planning of sales, stock levels, production requirements and the control of the purchase relative to planned levels, for example colour, fabric and branch / store volumes.

Merchandise planners analyse and forecast trends financially, as well as product trends, through the use of computerised systems, they lead and coordinate the activities of the distribution team which involves reviewing products’ performance at a branch and manipulating available stock.

Merchandise planners liaise closely with fashion buyers, as well as other buyers, senior management, manufacturers and operational staff. They are responsible for selecting merchandise, planning long-term buying strategy and negotiating price structures, delivery dates, specific merchandise requirements and contracts.

Since much of the ordering has to be done in advance, they also have to be intelligent gamblers. The success of a retail company depends to a large extent on its buyers. Most of their time, apart from that spent on negotiations, is occupied by following the fashion trends, reading magazines and keeping up with overseas fashions of every description.

Not every foreign manufacturer produces items which are appreciated by the diverse population of South Africa, but merchandise planners are able to glean information from their advertising campaigns.

Personal Requirements

  • entrepreneurial skills and business orientated
  • excellent people skills
  • calm temperament
  • highly numerate, confident and determined
  • an inquiring mind

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: BA, BCom or BBusSc, an advantage - most universities

Diploma: various diploma courses - most universities of technology

A qualification as a chartered secretary or a management accountant, which is offered by the Chartered Institute of Secretaries and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants at various universities of technology and other training centres, can also be considered.


Retail and wholesale companies

Further Information

Any head office of larger retail companies.

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a retail company
  • make an appointment to speak to a merchandise planner about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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