The First Friday Training Academy

Retail Academy for Buyers, Merchandisers & Planners

Our retail training academy for buyers, merchandisers and planners provides a comprehensive training programme, designed to develop the technical skills needed to build knowledge and confidence in merchandising, planning and buying.

Set against a backdrop of the retail product lifecycle and covering best practice processes, the courses are designed to engage and inspire buyers, merchandisers and planners to take a proactive approach to running their product areas.

The training covers a wide range of topics that includes: Merchandise Planning, WSSI, Open to Buy (OTB), Range and Assortment Planning, Negotiation, Sourcing and Supplier Management, Stock & Inventory Management, Trading and Forecasting.

We also offer some retail basics courses to train you in about the end-to-end product lifecycle, covering the retail tools, techniques and processes used by buying, merchandising and planning teams and improve your understanding of retail maths, key calculations and jargon.

There is also a learning programme based on John Hoerner’s book Recipes in Retail which offers a thought-provoking journey through everyday retail issues. It covers theories, tips and advice on customers, people, suppliers, stock management, marketing, finance, strategy and online.  


Learning hours

Our courses

  • Developing a Sustainability Strategy

    Explore the ethical and environmental issues impacting retail in order to develop a strategy to embed sustainability into your business Find out more »

  • Creating a Retail Strategy

    This certificated course will help you understand how to create a robust retail strategy that meets the needs of the customer, and delivers the goals of the business. Find out more »

  • Merchandise planning and WSSI training course
    Merchandise Planning

    Suitable for intermediate level merchandising or planning roles involved in pre-season planning, this course covers planning sales, stock, markdown and margin, sales phasing, managing intake and open to buy, and use of the WSSI. Find out more »

  • Assortment Planning & Range Building

    This certificated course covers the range building process, planning space, planning options, width and depth, grouping stores, the assortment plan, and range sign-off. Find out more »

  • Range Building & Option Planning

    This interactive training course is facilitated by two experienced retail professionals and covers the end-to-end range building and option planning process, and the roles involved. Find out more »

  • Introduction to negotiation skills for retail buyers - online course
    Introduction to Negotiation Skills for Retail Buyers Course

    This online retail buyer negotiation skills course covers the negotiations process, objectives, conflicts and the six-step negotiation framework. Find out more »

  • Introduction to Retail Buyer Negotiation Skills (1-Day Course)

    This negotiation skills course for retail buyers covers the negotiations process & objectives, conflict in negotiation and the six-step framework. Find out more »

  • Advanced negotiation skills for retail buyers
    Advanced Negotiation Skills for Retail Buyers (2-Day Course)

    A two-day course for retail buyers who wish to refresh, develop or enhance their negotiation skills to deal with more complex and challenging negotiations. Find out more »

  • Retail Buying: The Journey from Cost to Profit

    Learn how to influence the profitability of your business through commercial costing and sourcing decisions. Find out more »

  • Retail Sourcing Strategy

    Training in sourcing strategy, ethical sourcing, sustainability, types of sourcing, terminology and cultural considerations. Find out more »

  • Retail Supplier Management

    Learn how to work commercially with suppliers – from building successful long-term relationships, finding new suppliers and exiting a supplier. Find out more »

  • Retail Sample Management

    Entry-level course on how to manage the sample process which supports the development of product ranges. Find out more »

  • Competitor shopping and store visits
    Store Visits and Competitor Shopping

    Learn how to prepare for and carry out effective visits to both the stores in your own business and those of the competition Find out more »

  • Buying trips and factory visits training
    Buying Trips & Factory Visits for Junior Buyers

    Junior buyers course on how to go about planning for and then conducting buying trips and factory visits. Find out more »

  • Order Management, Allocation & Replenishment

    Learn the fundamentals of the end-to-end stock management process, critical path management, planning allocations, replenishment and managing commitment. Find out more »

  • Evaluating Trading Performance

    Learn how to evaluate weekly trading performance of a department, interpret KPIs at department-, category- and line-level, and compare with objectives. Find out more »

  • In season trading training course
    In-season Management: Forecasting, Trading and WSSI

    Covers use of the WSSI as a trading, evaluation & forecasting tool, taking action and managing end of season product & terminal stock. Find out more »

  • Managing Key Lines

    Training course on planning, forecasting and managing key lines in-season to maximise profitability. Find out more »

  • Retail Price Management

    Learn how to manage prices and optimise margin - including considerations for initial price setting, promotions and profitability, and clearance markdown criteria. Find out more »

  • Range Planning Challenge

    A fast-paced workshop where teams compete to create ranges that meet customer expectations, exceed business goals and deliver profit. Find out more »

  • Retail Product Trading Challenge

    A unique workshop that challenges teams to trade a product category, optimise in-season performance and deliver profit through a series of scenarios. Find out more »

  • Profit Challenge Workshop

    A team-based workshop packed with activities designed to improve profit-related decision-making within a pressurised retail environment. Find out more »