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Job Description

Contributes to sales strategy by working with current lines of clothing to make them appeal to changing customer tastes also removing lines from shops in exchange for new products. They manage a tight schedule of deciding what to put out (according to what is about to go into fashion), what production techniques to use, where to find the materials needed to make the clothes at the best price and get them to the clothes production factory on time to get the finished products in the shop just as they come into fashion in order to gain maximum profit. They also help to manage the buying team, but communicating what is needed to do their job, such as booking meetings with possible suppliers, as well as booking and coordinating sales demonstrations and presentations for retailers who will eventually buy their products.

Entry Requirements

You can get into this job through:

College

You can get into this job through:

You could do a Customer Service course at college to get some of the skills needed to work in retail.

The following local colleges offer courses in Customer Service:

You usually will need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course.

Or your local 6th form may offer a relevant course.

Apprenticeship

You might start your career with a fashion retail team leader advanced apprenticeship or retail manager higher apprenticeship before moving into the buying side.

You could also apply to do a buying and merchandising assistant higher or degree apprenticeship.

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

Click here to search for an apprenticeship.

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.

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.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Purchasing manager
  • Personal shopper
  • Retail merchandiser
  • Retail manager
  • Fashion design assistant

Required Skills

  • Excellent communication skills
  • the ability to influence others
  • commercial awareness
  • organised
  • good negotiation skills
  • a creative flair
  • able to work under pressure
  • determination
  • the ability to reach set targets

Salary Range

£18,000 to £70,000

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