Merchandise Planner

Merchandise planners are responsible for the planning and control of the product range of a retail company. They are key players in the purchasing environment of a retail company.

This is a high profile activity which involves financial seasonal planning of sales, stock levels, production requirements and the control of the purchase relative to planned levels, for example colour, fabric and branch / store volumes.

Merchandise planners analyse and forecast trends financially, as well as product trends, through the use of computerised systems, they lead and coordinate the activities of the distribution team which involves reviewing products’ performance at a branch and manipulating available stock.

Merchandise planners liaise closely with fashion buyers, as well as other buyers, senior management, manufacturers and operational staff. They are responsible for selecting merchandise, planning long-term buying strategy and negotiating price structures, delivery dates, specific merchandise requirements and contracts.

Since much of the ordering has to be done in advance, they also have to be intelligent gamblers. The success of a retail company depends to a large extent on its buyers. Most of their time, apart from that spent on negotiations, is occupied by following the fashion trends, reading magazines and keeping up with overseas fashions of every description.

Not every foreign manufacturer produces items which are appreciated by the diverse population of South Africa, but merchandise planners are able to glean information from their advertising campaigns.

Personal Requirements

  • entrepreneurial skills and business orientated
  • excellent people skills
  • calm temperament
  • highly numerate, confident and determined
  • an inquiring mind


Retail and wholesale companies

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a retail company
  • make an appointment to speak to a merchandise planner about this type of career


Boston City Campus and Business College does not offer a programme that leads directly to this occupation. Please take a look at the related occupations below to see whether any of these appeal to you. Alternately, please send an email to and a Student Advisor will call you back.

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