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Michael Page Buying and Merchandising, Fashion

Rise in demand for interim buying and merchandising skills

Developing a new business stream or start-up, looking at cost saving initiatives or process improvements? An interim buying or merchandising resource may be the answer.

Retailers, wholesalers and import organisations hiring buying and merchandising candidates on an interim basis are realising the value that this flexible approach can bring to their short and medium term business plans.

Recruiting a specific skill set on a fixed term basis isn’t new to the industry, but current factors have seen a rise in the demand for interim candidates. These market trends include:

1. Economic conditions – With the general outlook still uncertain, organisations either aren’t keen to commit to, or don’t have the headcount budget available for permanent appointments.

2. Start-ups – Entrepreneurs, often from a non-retail background, are developing niches in the retail market. They’re keen to bring skilled interim buying and merchandising candidates on board for their market and process knowledge, and contact base.

3. Development of new business streams – A product or channel specialist can be invaluable in implementing or developing new categories or product ranges for organisations. When these skills aren’t available inhouse, an interim manager can contribute the required expertise quickly.

4. Process improvement – Several businesses started in the last decade are now firmly established but their growth isn’t supported by sufficiently robust infrastructure. An interim skill set can be invaluable to instigate the process change required for future development. Additionally, organisations looking to diversify require specific knowledge of e-commerce, franchising or wholesale, for example.

Skills in demand

While most buying and merchandising skill sets are in demand for interim assignments, there are some areas of expertise that are particularly sought after:

  • A wide-ranging e-commerce track record, from both a trading and marketing perspective
  • SAP or other specialist systems knowledge
  • Buyers with relationships and strong networks across brands or manufacturers/suppliers to develop product portfolios
  • Merchandising systems and IT change management

Realise the business benefits

Employers utilising interim recruitment solutions report several positive outcomes, according to Diana Wheeler, manager of Michael Page Buying & Merchandising. “ The knowledge and contact base of an industry expert combined with a flexible approach can be of value to any retailer or e-tailer in the current economic climate,” she said. “Organisations should be certain that an interim specialist will either make you or save you more money in the mid to long term than they will cost you in the short term,” she added.

Michael Page Buying & Merchandising has dedicated teams UK-wide who can source the interim talent who could make a difference to your organisation. To find out how our track record and network could add value to your interim hiring process, please get in touch with one of the team.

South and South West
Nicola Wensley
T: 01932 264059
E: nicolawensley@michaelpage.com

London and Northern Home Counties
Diana Wheeler
T: 020 7269 6233
E: dianawheeler@michaelpage.com

Oliver Nevel
T: 0121 634 6970
E: olivernevel@michaelpage.com

Jake Bradley
T: 0161 819 5522
E: jakebradley@michaelpage.com

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