Wednesday, 6 November 2013

I'm being a bit brave, starting a new blog now.  The next couple of months are the busiest of year for me. At the same time, they're the most interesting, so hopefully I'll find time to record them.

I'm a merchandiser working in the beauty industry. I allocate out stock to our stores and our website warehouse and I analyse sales across the wholesale and direct channels. As with most jobs, there's a bit of sprawl, so I'm involved in some logistics and retail operations as well.

Last week, most of my stores received their first delivery based on their elevated Christmas stock levels. In this, my first post, I’m going to start by describing how this came about.

The first step was working out much we expect each store to take on each category of goods. To do this, we looked at last year's sales breakdown per category and how the retail business has been trending over the past few months. We're hoping to see some healthy growth.

Then, taking the percentage of last year's overall category sales represented by each sku and multiplying it by our category forecast, we predicted how much of each product each store would sell.

We had to consider whether sales of now-discontinued products would be made up by sales of similar products. New launches and the Christmas box sets were forecasted separately; for these we considered past launches, extrapolated sales-to-date and fed in the general feeling around the products. Pretty rigorous!

Having predicted sales by product by store for November and December, we had to work out how to achieve a good flow of stock into the stores. Now, this is the bit that makes you toss and turn at night. If you get it wrong, there'll be stockouts over Christmas. And then, if you're anything like me, you won't sleep for remorse, ever, ever again!

I'll tell you all about it in my next post.

So this is what I'd like to be spending my merchandiser's salary on this week. It's getting cold outside now and you need to think about protecting your hands – particularly if you're out watching fireworks, admiring the autumn leaves, etc.

(Clockwise from top left) Chill Hand Lotion 02, Karmameju, 349DKK - about £40 ; Tea and Oranges Hand Lotion, Emma Bridgewater, £12 ; Whisky and Water Hand Lotion, Noble Isle, £20 ; Personalised KeepCup from £7.80 ; Pom Pom Scarf, NW3 by Hobbs, £55 ; Chunky Mittens, Cos, £25 ; Silly Billy Nail Laquer, Butter, £12 ; Light Drizzle Nail Varnish, Topshop £6

Normally I swear by Neutrogena Norwegian Formula, but this year I'd also like to try Chill Hand Lotion for sensitive skin by Karmameju (very into Nordic beauty products at the moment). I'm interested in Noble Isle as a brand and Whisky & Water is an unusual fragrance – warming! Emma Bridgewater's Tea & Oranges Lotion sounds simply delicious.

Hope you’re looking after yourself this winter!

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