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Retail buyer

Alternative titles for this job include Wholesale buyer, food buyer, buyer for retail

Retail buyers choose products for shops to sell, like clothing, toys, electrical goods and food.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter

to

£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings attending events or appointments

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How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a retail buyer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • completing private industry-recognised training

University

You can do a degree before joining a retail company graduate scheme. Employers recruit from a range of degree subjects. Some particularly relevant subjects include:

  • marketing
  • fashion buying and merchandising
  • fashion and business
  • retail business management

You could choose a course that includes a year's work placement to get relevant experience alongside your qualification. Or you could gain experience from a part-time job or a summer internship.

Your university careers service can help you to find part-time roles, placements and internships.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

College

You could do a course at college to get some of the skills needed to work in retail. Examples are:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Retail Operations
  • Level 2 Diploma in Fashion Retail
  • Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills

A course may help you to get your first job. You could then move into buying as your experience grows.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information

Apprenticeship

The following apprenticeships are relevant to this role.

On the retail side:

  • retail team leader advanced apprenticeship
  • retail manager higher apprenticeship

On the buying side:

  • buyer and merchandiser higher apprenticeship
  • assistant buyer and assistant merchandiser degree apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You can start as an assistant buyer and go on to become a junior buyer and work your way up. To go straight into a buying role, you'll usually need a qualification in retail or business.

It's possible to get experience in retail on the shop-floor, in visual merchandising, or as an admin assistant in a buyer's office. You can then spend time learning, doing training and getting qualifications on the job.

Other Routes

Some companies in fashion retail offer training schemes specifically for buyers. These tend to be aimed at graduates. Other types of retailers offer general store management training schemes with the option to specialise in buying later on.

You can also take procurement and supply qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a retail buyer from the Fashion Retail Academy.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could

  • analyse and forecast trends from consumer data
  • attend trade fairs to find new products
  • manage product quality
  • obtain and analyse customer feedback
  • negotiate prices, orders and delivery dates
  • present collections to senior managers
  • track sales figures, manage stock levels and keep to budgets
  • check and react to competitor activities
  • adapt quickly to meet changing consumer behaviour and trends

Working environment

You could work in an office or at a store.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience and training you could become a senior buyer, buying controller or head of buying. You could also move into product management, marketing or merchandising.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Buying Administration Apprentice

  • Wage: £174.00 - £328.40 Weekly
  • Location: Bury

Retail Team Leader Apprentice

  • Wage: £180.50 Weekly
  • Location: Manchester

Courses In England

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