Merchandising breaks out the buying by categories #194

Merchandising breaks out the buying by categories #194

Merchandising breaks out the buying by categories

Blog #193 I talked about The time Tony and Fred Pranked me. In this blog I want to talk about Merchandising breaks out the buying by categories.


With business doubling every year and the amount of styles we have added on the site, we decide to break out the buyers by category. We still had 6 Buyers on the team. Fred maintained his own portfolio and some of us had brands kept in their portfolio due to relationships. But we broke out four main categories:


Fashion & Juniors


Eileen took this on and had plans to develop a designer area as well. Some of the Fashion brands had Size and Width components so They stayed in my portfolio which I’ll explain in a minute. This category had a lot of “case pack” brands. A case pack is a run of shoes that the brand pre-determines. So you buy different cases depending on the size run you want. Sometimes this method of buying can cause an overload of sizes that don’t sell as fast, so the buyer has to make sure the size runs sell through fast.




This was a pretty large area as the bulk of our business was done here. Aaron had a big portion of this area and Jon kept his Skate category intact. There were some brands like New Balance that specialized in extended Size and widths but they were put into the Performance category. New Balance as a company had brands such as Dunham that went to Size and Width.




This was another big area that had some performance type components to it. Aaron had a bunch of these type brands in his portfolio too. We wanted to develop this category to eventually add in the Accessories to compliment the footwear.


Size and Width


This was my baby. I had a lot of experience with these types of brands with Nordstrom and was having success in using my good relationships to bring on more of these types of brands. Men’s was a very small portion of our business so if a brand did both men’s and Women’s then one buyer would buy both. At this point in time we had them in one sales plan too. Eventually I had the idea to break out Men’s and Women’s but that’s another future blog down the road.


Our growth was phenomenal and with that many changes every month. We made sales plans but just killed the numbers so being over bought rarely happened. We had moments though where we had to real it in a bit but for the most part we would buy most of the line a brand offered.


Fred would go to buy meetings with me sometimes and when I started culling the line, he’d look at me and say “what are you doing, aren’t you buying everything?”. I’d tell him I had to figure out what I was going to buy to fit into my open to buy. “A good buyer figures out a way to buy everything”. Some brands had so much though especially in the Size and Width area that it was impossible to do whether or not you were a “good buyer”.



…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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