Division Merchandise Manager


Division Merchandise Manager


National retailer with over 120 locations across the US; headquartered in the western US.


This position will report directly to ­­­­the Senior Vice President of Merchandising and lead a team of category managers, merchants, and data analysts.


The Division Merchandise Manager is accountable for leading multiple categories and category teams with the goal of delivering short- and long-term business objectives. This individual provides strategic direction and merchandising leadership and partners with suppliers to develop and manage assortments that best align with the customers’ needs. Through the collaboration of managing direct and indirect team members, this individual will lead the overall category management process, playing a vital role in assessing and making decisions that will affect business results.

Specific duties will include, but not necessarily be limited to:

  • Provide leadership to develop category strategies, drive annual assortment planning, and build strong execution plans based on insights and vendor negotiations to optimize annual business results; work collaboratively with several support functions, including marketing, loyalty, owned brands, finance, and insights to develop fully integrated merchandising plans driven by consumer insights.
  • Manage and mentor a team of category managers, buyers, assistant buyers, and data specialists.
  • Lead the category review and planning process, utilizing cross-functional resources and multiple data sources to interpret customer data and insights to make strategic recommendations to optimize business performance; key to the role is optimizing performance around key business metrics, including sales, profit, and share; optimal outcome is developing assortment plans that help the company differentiate itself from the competition.
  • Curate assortment utilizing consumer insights; leverage the outcome of category reviews and identify and recommend assortment options that factor both national and regionally local trends; understand the category roles and align the merchandising mix to be effective in tandem with the company’s merchandising strategy; partner with e-commerce and marketing teams to help deliver a more compelling omnichannel experience for customers.
  • Optimize sales and profit through pricing and promotional effectiveness; utilizing the company’s promotional tools and data, constantly strive to build more effective promotional programs delivering against profit and sales targets.
  • Manage KPIs with advanced knowledge of key drivers that deliver sustainable long-term results for the company; identify critical areas that are driving existing issues or potential opportunities; analyze, mitigate, and/or take calculated business risks.
  • Lead and develop all vendor relationships and joint business planning for key strategic vendors; understand how to prioritize vendors and optimize vendor funding and resources to maximize business results.
  • Use strong negotiation skills to drive COGS reductions on an ongoing basis.
  • Partner with retail operations teams to understand the store needs and success criteria for merchandising programs; build plans and initiatives that are easy for stores to execute and easy to understand; build consistent communication platforms to assist in store education; understand and drive strategies that align to new, segmented store formats and clusters.
  • Oversee and be accountable for determining the assortment and merchandise investment for categories within span of control.
  • Strong understanding of the role of private brands relative to individual categories; advocate for the company’s brands making every effort to optimize growth where it aligns to category roles; understand the process of product development and product integrity and ensure the team adheres to guidelines that enforce process efficiency and collaboration.
  • Accurately assess performance of staff and team, providing meaningful and timely coaching and feedback to assist in performance reviews.
  • Manage the development of procedures to ensure merchandise is available to consumers at the start of marketing events and maintained at sufficient inventory levels to support all events.
  • Lead and develop cross-functional relationships to ensure individuals work well across divisions and disciplines.


  • At least five years’ category experience/expertise.
  • Six or more years’ relevant strategy and merchandising leadership experience; retail experience required.
  • Experience creating merchandising plans for categories, including experience with customer analysis, market potential evaluation, and goal definition.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively with cross-functional teams and manage staff, including creating development plans, managing performance, and selecting/recruiting.
  • At least five years’ experience negotiating with outside vendors, including negotiating contracts and prices, resolving service issues, and reconciling differences.
  • Experience with conducting and guiding analysis for market potential evaluation, pricing, and promotions.
  • Experience developing strategic initiatives which align with business goals and budget.
  • Experience coordinating and facilitating executive management meetings.
  • At least five years’ experience contributing to financial decisions in the workplace.
  • At least two years’ experience in direct leadership and cross-functional team leadership.
  • Deep understanding of merchandising, marketing, planning processes, and interrelationships of buying, marketing, in-store presentation, and selling functions required; experience across a variety of merchandise categories sectors preferred.
  • Exceptional leadership, interpersonal, collaboration, and motivational skills with the ability to work across the organization required.
  • Strong analytical, critical, and strategic thinking skills with the ability to effectively develop and refine strategy.
  • Excellent negotiation and influential skills.
  • Strong verbal and written communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to mentor and lead a team of category managers and buyers to deliver outstanding results.
  • Understanding of the retail business, marketplace, and relevant technologies, with excellent business and financial acumen.
  • Willing to travel up to 25% of the time for business purposes (within and out of state).
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.


Compensation will be commensurate with experience including a competitive base salary, bonus opportunity, and competitive benefits package.


Joy Davis, Consultant