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Senior Category Merchant

Function: Merchandising/Buying
Location: Staples Corporate Center, Framingham, MA US
Date posted: 4/30/2018 3:01:57 PM
Type: Full-time
Permanent / Contract: Regular
Job number: 1046301

The Senior Retail Category Merchant is responsible for the Mail & Ship categories as well as managing a team of up to 5 people.  The Senior CM is responsible for customer satisfaction and revenue growth through the development of selling strategies inspired by deep customer insight, for an assigned product line or group of product lines in stores. The Senior CM is responsible for managing a group of product lines for sales, margin and supply chain impact including turn results. This includes assortment planning, merchandise and vendor selection, negotiation, financial planning, supply chain and inventory turn implications, advertising plans, merchandise presentation, distribution, vendor relations and administration for assigned lines. Develops and executes strategies for driving sales and margin, and competitive differentiation. 


  • Develop deep understanding of customer needs and shopping behaviors through research efforts, field feedback, and frequent live interactions on store visits. Create market-leading selling strategies leveraging presentation, pricing, promotion, and associate engagement inspired by the customer. 
  • Develop a realistic and effective business plan for each product line to achieve budgeted goals in sales, margin, supply chain impact including turns, and drive execution of plan. Identify alternatives for driving sales in face of negative trends. Develop and approve disposition plans. 
  • Develop, execute, and effectively communicate strategy to the highest levels of the company for product lines taking into account cross-functional implications. Review business plans to ensure plans align with company strategic objectives and goals. 
  • Choose items and vendors for product line(s). Expert level negotiating expected with vendors for lower total delivered cost, volume incentives, rebates, advertising and other applicable allowances. Construct and drive creative marketing programs in their category. 
  • Expert level Merchandising of assigned line(s) demonstrating innovation, creativity, and proven results in driving sales and profitability while ensuring service levels with minimum inventory investment and maximum gross margin. Effectively manage impact on total supply chain by leveraging knowledge of inventory turns and logistics to secure best delivered costs. 
  • Review and approve financial and item forecasts with Planners. Responsible for developing strategies to consistently deliver adjusted margin. Collaborate with Planner and incorporate Planner in the development of financial and item forecast. 
  • Create new programs and partner effectively with Marketing, POG, Inventory Management, Stores, NAD and other functional areas as needed to achieve corporate goals. 
  • Utilize appropriate resources to gather data. Facilitate the sharing of business insights among team members and increase team productivity by proactively sharing knowledge and information. 
  • Interpret financial statements, total cost to serve the product, financial levers and metrics used in merchandising to understand current and future trends. Identify exceptions and seek additional information when data discrepancies are found. 
  • Manage and coach a team of Merchants who are responsible for the financial performance of their categories.  To achieve financial targets, these merchants are building assortments that meet our customers’ needs, shaping demand, creating exceptional shopping and sales experiences, influencing pricing and promotions, and ensuring accurate inventory levels.
  • Effectively partner and influence other cross-functional partners, such as Pricing, Site Merchandising, Marketing, Portfolio, Inventory + Planning, and more.
  • Resolve communication barriers to increase productivity. Anticipate problems or issues within team. Identify process inefficiencies and process performance gaps. Demonstrate expertise in processes. Viewed as a process expert within merchandising and within cross-functional teams.


Bachelor’s Degree


Minimum 8 years total experience in buying related functions (buying-selling, merchandising, planning, inventory management). Prefer experience in all listed functions. Buying, Planning, selling and Store experience required. 


  • Expert knowledge of industry trends, competition, assortment planning, planograms, customer buying patterns, inventory management, logistics and marketing techniques.
  • Demonstrated in-depth knowledge in financial analysis and forecasting. 
  • Expert negotiating skills with highest level internally and externally. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Ability to influence at highest levels. 
  • PC literate with the ability to develop and manipulate spreadsheets. 
  • Demonstrated ability to build strategic partnerships across organization and with vendors at the highest levels. 
  • Accomplished in holding a team accountable to achieve measurable results
  • Ability to manage expectations with all levels within organization and vendors. 
  • Proven ability to drive sales and margin results and impact inventory productivity. 
  • Multiple category experience is preferable. 
  • Exhibit proactive communications; assess the need for immediate action. 
  • Exceptional time management, prioritization and organizational skills. 

Staples is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law.


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