Merchandising Manager: Job Description, Requirements & Career Info

Sep 10, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a merchandising manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

To become a merchandising manager, it is necessary to have a bachelor's degree in business, merchandising or a related field. Merchandising managers need to be skilled at negotiation and be able to anticipate the needs of their customers.

Essential Information

Merchandising managers, often known as purchasing managers or buyers, are retail professionals who select the goods sold in stores. Careers for merchandising managers can be found with boutiques, department stores and other retail outlets. Most employers seek candidates with a bachelor's degree, but a master's or doctoral degree also could prove beneficial for merchandising managers.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in business, merchandising or similar field; master's or doctoral degree could lead to additional career opportunities
Other Requirements Knowledge of company and customer needs is crucial; candidates should also have strong negotiation skills
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% for purchasing managers; -7% for buyers and purchasing agents
Mean Salary (2018)* $125,630 for purchasing managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Merchandising managers choose and purchase the various products offered for sale by a variety of retail outlets. They oversee a staff and maintain a budget while performing assigned duties that enable a successful company. The primary goal of a merchandising manager is securing the best goods for the lowest cost to the company. A number of employers also assign marketing duties to merchandising managers.


Merchandising managers are expected to be knowledgeable about company needs and goals. Most merchandising managers keep a close watch on inventory levels and the needs of clients. An integral part of merchandising management is monitoring the sales histories of various products to maximize efficiency of retail space. The ability to negotiate favorable terms is a highly desirable quality among merchandising managers.

The needs of different businesses and organizations have created a demand for merchandising mangers with unique experience. Wholesale buyers and farm products purchasers are two of these specialized merchandising managers. Some merchandising managers focus on securing the tools and skills necessary to produce specific products.

Education Requirements

Professionals employed as merchandising managers possess various degrees of education and experience. Larger retail organizations often prefer purchasing managers with a bachelor's degree in merchandising, business or economics. Courses that aspiring merchandising managers might want to consider include accounting, finance and management.

Graduate education, like a master's or doctoral degree, can make a candidate more desirable for merchandising management positions with larger businesses or retail organizations.

Career Information

Purchasing management positions are expected to increase more slowly than other professions, at a rate of just 4% between 2018 and 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In May 2018, the mean annual salary of a merchandising manager was $125,630. The highest-earning ten percent of merchandising managers made $187,060 or more during the same period.

Merchandising managers are responsible for determining which goods will be sold in stores. Specialized fields may require specific product or industry knowledge, and in some cases a master's degree may be required or necessary for advancement. Merchandising managers earn an annual mean salary of $125,630, and slower than average job growth is projected for this field through 2028.

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