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Retail Know-How

First Friday’s Retail experts share their expert insights and advice on how to get the most out of your retail systems, make effective planning decisions, advance your career in head office retail, and more…

Buyers & Merchandisers - an equal partnership? - Article by First Friday
Retail Know-How,

Buyers & Merchandisers – an equal partnership?

  In the world of retail, two key roles often come under the spotlight: The Buyer and the Merchandiser. Both play pivotal roles but who is the ultimate decision maker? As an ex-buyer, it’s got to be the buyer, right? As much as I probably spent much of my buying career believing exactly that, maybe I […]

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Merchandise Strategy and Plan: what the difference is and why retailers need both to succeed - article by First Friday
Retail Know-How,

Merchandise Strategy & Plans: What the difference is and why retailers need both to succeed

We use the word strategy in multiple contexts in retail, here I’m talking about the transition from Company Strategy to Divisional Strategy to Department Strategy and how those high-level directional views are different from but critical to the Buying and Merchandising Commercial Plan. [toc] Company strategy Strategy defines the direction a company intends to take […]

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How to calculate retail markdowns and when to use them - article from First Friday
Retail Know-How,

An Introduction to Retail Markdowns – When to use them and some of the key calculations

Most customers love a deal, and lots of retailers have frequent offers across their product ranges. But the process of reducing prices comes at a cost. In fact, the management of the markdown budget is a critical aspect of the merchandiser’s toolkit, it’s a complex topic and it needs to be planned and managed carefully. […]

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Retail Know-How,

Why retailers need to balance finance and merchandising capability

In mature retailers, commercial finance and merchandising work well together, each applying their skills at the relevant stage of the business calendar and level of the hierarchy to challenge and ratify fiscal expectations and results. Finance and Merchandising are separate and distinct skill sets which approach the business from very different standpoints. Key areas Commercial […]

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Retail Know-How,

The critical relationship between sales and stock

Put simply stock is needed to be able to make sales, in theory the more stock you have the more sales you can make. Of course the quality of the stock, how wanted it is, what value it represents will have a significant impact on the sales. Connecting the decisions made about stock to the […]

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Retail Know-How,

How to calculate retail buying, selling and profit margins

If you’re new to the world of retail and feeling a little lost in the jargon, or maybe you’re just in need of a quick refresher, our jargon-busting series of blogs will have you “Speaking Retail” in no time. Other articles in the series cover common acronyms and terms relating to measuring and managing stock, […]

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Retail Know-How,

Successful merchandising relies on good hierarchy

We often meet retailers who have poorly organised data, whose product is grouped together based on their organisational structure or in a supplier facing way. It is often a mix of attributes and hierarchy; and is rarely consistent.   This lack of structure is holding their business back; it is limiting visibility which means it is […]

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Retail Know-How, Transformation & Change,

Why are Assortment Planning Systems so challenging to implement?

Assortment or Range planning is the majority of a buying and merchandising team’s purpose. All of the other work done is related to building the range for the next phase, the next season, the next year.   From strategy to trading, from WSSI to supplier relationships, from competitor shopping to catwalks – it’s all ultimately about […]

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My journey to consultancy. Interviewing Victoria Ward
Retail Know-How, News & Events,

Victoria Ward’s journey to consultancy at First Friday

The latest in our series of Retail Careers Interviews sees us talk to Victoria Ward, our strategic transformation consultant, who shares her journey from Merchandising to Consultancy at First Friday. Retail Careers: An Interview with Victoria Ward First Friday’s team all have strong roots in Retail. Tell us about yours: I began my career some […]

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Interviewing Jean Spencer: Why I love working for First Friday
Retail Know-How, News & Events,

Jean Spencer reflects on 21 years (and counting) at First Friday

This is the first in a new series of interviews where we explore the careers of our talented retail, change management and training consultants. First up, we hear from Head of Systems Transformation Training, Jean Spencer, who shares with us how she first found her way into retail, some of her earliest memories, and why […]

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Assortment Planning. What is it? Why is it important?
Retail Know-How,

Assortment Planning: What it is, and how to plan a basic fashion range

With my experience in buying, merchandising and planning, I am often asked to help retailers improve their Assortment Planning. From the CEO to the most junior member of the team there is an opinion on the assortment or range in store/online today; what there is too much of, what there is too little of, what […]

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What does a merchandiser or planner need to be successful in the retail sector?
Retail Know-How,

A Beginners Guide to Retail Merchandising and Planning

Maybe you have just started your career in merchandising or planning, or perhaps you are a training manager wanting to know more about the role so you can put together a training programme. In either case, you need to start by understanding the roles and responsibilities of merchandisers and planners. Let’s begin by explaining the […]

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What does a buyer need to be successful in the retail sector? thumbnail image
Retail Know-How,

A Beginners Guide to Retail Buying: Understanding retail buyer basics

When people say they are a Buyer, or they want a career in buying, most of us have a picture of what that might mean. They are the people who buy the products that we in turn, as customers, buy from retail shops and websites. Simple, right? But is it..? The reality is that beyond […]

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Essential merchandising processes, tools and skills article from First Friday
Retail Know-How,

Essential merchandising processes, tools and skills for retailers

Essential merchandising processes, tools and skills for retailers Retail has always been an incredibly vibrant and exciting sector to work in. It has always been fast-moving and ever-changing as it has had to evolve to meet the evolving consumer and competitive environment. But boy, things have changed a lot in the last couple of years: […]

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The right way to implement a WSSI or MFP system
Retail Know-How, Transformation & Change,

Implementing a new WSSI or MFP system: How to do it right

The WSSI (Weekly Stock Sales and Intake) is the engine that powers the decision making of Buying, Planning and Trading teams. Installing a new engine – while keeping the business running – might seem a daunting task, but, done right, it could transform your business.  You may not have a WSSI system to speak of, […]

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What is a WSSI? - article from First Friday
Retail Know-How,

What is a WSSI and why is it so important?

You may not currently have a WSSI, and, having survived without, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Or you may be wondering why you’re under pressure from your team to replace that old Excel WSSI which has been around for years… But if you’re a retailer who needs to manage the risky […]

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Merchandise Planning in uncertain times article from First Friday
Retail Know-How,

Merchandise planning in uncertain times

There is an old joke that when asking someone for directions the response is “but if I wanted to get there I wouldn’t start from here”. Planning 2021 is going to feel very much like that, I suspect. This year is going to be a heck of a place to plan from. We’ve always had […]

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