What is a Merchandise Planner?

There is a surplus of jobs to candidates as the demand for Merchandise Planners is higher than ever. A Merchandise Planner is a highly skilled and niche job, that offer well-paid and rewarding career paths. Establishing a career as a Merchandise Planner affords you the opportunity to be immersed in a competitive and progressive industry. Merchandise Planners are imperative to the functionality of the Fashion Industry. Their premise in a company or organisation is to ensure that the logistics in place drive profit. They are highly numerical, data driven, deciphering highly complex reports and quantitative figures and determining business based decisions on all of these facets. Another noteworthy point is the confusion between Visual Merchandisers and Merchandise Planners which we recently covered here.

Merchandise Planners have an enviable skill set. There is often misconception that to work in fashion you must be predominately creative. Merchandise Planners think and solve. They are commercially minded and analytical. While Retailers needs creativity, they also need profit and that is driven and determined by a Merchandise Planner. They will ensure that stock is in the right place at the right time. They will be astute and apace with cultural trends and demographics. They can determine in advance what stock will be needed and where it will sell best.

A store located in a young, urban and creative city will sell alternative stock than a rural location with a median population that is considerable older. The Merchandise Planner will ensure that the correct type and quantities of stock are in place in both locations to optimise sales and profit.

Merchandise Planners are high in demand. They have an amalgamation of many skills and are rewarded with competitive salaries and benefits, some which include.

  • Constant job openings with the biggest retailers, all year round
  • Paid travel and mileage
  • Being appreciated for their niche expertise
  • Broad career path and numerous choices
  • Attractive salary scale

What you need to become a Merchandise Planner

Third LevelPreferred.
Degree TypeIdeally within Business, Supply Chain and/or Finance
Key SkillsAnalytics ability, Reporting, Data analysis and proficiency, ordering systems, advanced Microsoft Office especially Excel, Negotiation. Numerical skills, Understanding of Retail Maths and how to convert to profit
SalaryEntry Level: €24,000

Median Level: €50,000

Top level: €90,000

Experience1-3 years within Retail


Have we got you curious? We’ve written this blog on steps to become a Merchandise Planner and outlines exactly what we look for when receiving applications for the ongoing Merchandise Planner jobs we have available. Want to work in an International buying office with the world’s biggest retailers. Merchandise Planners are just as crucial to the operation as Retail Buyers.


Merchandise Planners and Visual Merchandisers: The Difference

Excel Recruitment are the leading Retail Recruitment Company in Ireland. We receive applications from all levels of professionals in the Retail and Fashion industry from Sales Assistants to CEO’s daily. One thing we have noticed over time is the confusion some people have surrounding Visual Merchandisers and Merchandisers (also called Merchandise Planners). Our Digital Marketing Manager Clare, together with our Head Office and Merchandising Recruiter Sarah, have compiled this blog for easy understanding and to eradicate any confusion that surrounds the two roles. We have jobs for all levels of Merchandise Planners, full remuneration packages and flights if applicable which you can view here www.excelrecruitment.com

What is the difference between a Visual Merchandiser and Merchandiser?

People often understandably confuse the term Merchandisers with Visual Merchandisers. They are both roles that are generally found in a Retail Head Office.

Merchandisers (also can be called Merchandisers Planners) need to be highly numerical, commercially minded and analytical. They must possess the ability to work in a fast paced and constantly evolving environment.

Visual Merchandising on the other hand, is a highly creative role where their main remit is to develop, deliver and communicate visual concepts and strategies to promote retail brands, products and services in-store, in catalogues or online. They also tend to work in a pressurised work surrounding and can often be found on the shop floor ensuring displays, photographics and fixtures etc. are correctly executed.

  • Merchandise Planners will think and solve They make business decisions based on facts accumulated from analysing reports and figures. They will have reasoning and an ability to solve complex based on accurate reasoning.
  • Visual Merchandisers will act, develop and deliver visual concepts that are in line with company strategies which in turn will drive sales. They work alongside Buyers, Merchandisers and Marketing to ensure that the key messages for a brand or product are clearly executed to drive sales in store and online.

In a nutshell…

Merchandisers/Merchandise Planners are responsible for having the right stock in the right place at the right time to maximise sales and to minimise mark down.

Visual Merchandisers are concerned with promoting the identity of brands and new products both instore and online in order to boost sales.

Potential candidates should ensure they understand the difference between visual merchandising, retail merchandising and shop-floor merchandising before applying to jobs. The latter two are concerned with volumes and allocation of stock and its location and functional arrangement on the shop floor, rather than the visual and creative impact a visual merchandiser makes. There are interfaces between the roles and teams may work closely together to achieve maximum sales and profitability.

Excel Recruitment want to hear from Merchandise Planners across all level from Trainee to Senior roles. View all our jobs here: www.excelrecruitment.ie or attach a CV to info@excelrecruitment.com