Retail merchandiser

Retail merchandisers make sure that goods are in the right stores, or online, at the right time and the right price.

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter


£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

36 to 38 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends attending events or appointments

How to become a retail merchandiser

You can get into this job through:

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


You can do a degree before joining a retail company as a trainee merchandiser. Relevant subjects include:

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information


You can take a college course to become a retail merchandiser. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Retail Operations
  • Level 3 Diploma in Fashion Retail
  • Level 3 Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More information


You may be able to start through a retailer intermediate apprenticeship or retail team leader advanced apprenticeship before moving into merchandising.

If you already have some retail experience, you could apply to do a buying and merchandising assistant higher or degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually 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 qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

More information


You could start in stock control or as a merchandise admin assistant and work your way up by learning on the job.

Other routes

If you're interested in fashion retail, the Fashion Retail Academy runs short courses like an introduction to merchandising.

You can also take procurement and supply qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply. These are recognised by the industry.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a retail merchandiser from the Fashion Retail Academy and Creative Choices.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • planning product ranges and stock plans with buyers
  • planning budgets, forecasting sales and profit margins
  • presenting forecasts to managers
  • visiting manufacturers with retail buyers to learn about production cycles
  • negotiating prices and orders with suppliers, and agreeing delivery terms
  • tracking stock deliveries, making sure goods arrive on time and meet quality standards
  • setting prices and sales targets for individual stores
  • helping visual merchandisers to plan store layouts to promote key lines
  • promoting special offers and marketing initiatives
  • analysing sales figures and trends
  • staying aware of how competitors are performing
  • identifying and sorting out production and supply problems
  • managing, training and supervising staff

Working environment

You could work at a store or in an office.

Career path and progression

You could be promoted to senior merchandiser and responsible for sales and budgetary control of a multimillion-pound department and managing a team of people. It’s typical to have reached senior merchandiser level within 7 to 8 years.

You could also become a merchandise manager, head of merchandising, merchandising director, retail business analyst or self-employed retail consultant.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Fast Track Trainee Manager - Howdens - Advanced Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £454.08 Weekly
  • Location: Manchester M40 5AX

Apprentice Retail Assistant

  • Wage : £160.00 Weekly
  • Location: Mansfield NG18 4HF

Courses In England

Fashion Business & Retail - Level 3 Diploma/Extended Diploma

  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

Level 3 in Fashion Business and Retail

  • Provider: Middlesbrough College
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: Middlesbrough

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