7:53am : Mondays are typically fairly early starts in the world of retail because of the hugely important task that we creatively call “Monday reports.” Like most retailers, since the vast majority of our sales occur over the weekend, first thing Monday mornings are spent preparing a myriad of reports that summarize key sales information from the previous week. The accuracy and analysis of these reports are critical in order to determine how well or poorly your department as a whole performed, as well as how specific vendors, merchandise classifications, and styles fared. Every Monday, it is my responsibility to run these reports for my team. The goal is to have them completed and distributed by 9am so that everyone may begin reviewing the previous week’s business.
10:11am : After the somewhat frantic rush of reporting has died down, another Monday staple involves a key facet of our company – advertising. Every Monday at 11am, an advertising process called a styleout occurs with the Men’s GMM (general merchandise manager – a very senior management level position whose responsibility is to oversee a major family of business within the organization). At each week’s styleout, the GMM reviews the overall concept of an advertisement slated to run in the future. Among the things he looks at are the offers that each department has selected to run (brand, item, and price point), the merchandise they have chosen to feature, as well as the overall look and flow of the ad. Within the tailored clothing division, we operate under an ad captain system where each assistant buyer is assigned a particular ad for which they are responsible for coordinating all of the elements mentioned above with the buyers. Today, one of my ads is scheduled to present, so I must make sure that everything is ready. Things that I double-check I completed during my preparations last week:
1) My department’s offers are filled into the ad layouts that will be handed out at the meeting
2) I have calculated sales volume and on-hand stock projections, which the GMM will scrutinize as he evaluates the strength of each offer
3) The suits we have decided to show are styled with an appropriate shirt and tie and fit with the theme of the ad
Check, check, and check. I head over to the conference room where the styleout will be held to set up my merchandise and confirm with my marketing director that nothing else is needed.
11:47am : The meeting went well. The GMM liked the offers we presented and there are no changes. ’Tis a good thing…and not always the case. Often, there will be changes that will then require additional follow-up such as re-projecting or choosing a new sample to feature, but fortunately, everything went smoothly this time. Normally I eat lunch a little later, but since I was in early, I’m starving – it’s time for food! Wish a Hillside panini was an option!
1:05pm : After lunch, I set aside some time to go over my reports from this morning, which I usually would have done earlier if the ad that was styling out wasn’t mine. Things that are important to me include significant variances from our financial plan for this year or from last year’s sales results. I pay particular attention to key vendors and styles that typically drive our business and review my findings with my buyer to discuss any items of note. An example of something that may come up in our conversation could be a strong-selling style whose inventory level has dipped low that we might consider buying more of to ensure that it continues to perform well. Or, conversely, we may notice a style that has chronically underperformed and discuss marking it down to a lower price with the hopes of stimulating more sales.
2:32pm : I spend the remainder of my afternoon training our team’s merchant assistant on a new system our department is using to help us write our PO’s (purchase orders) more efficiently. A purchase order is a document that we transmit electronically to our vendors detailing the styles, quantities, and sizes that we wish to buy from them.