Training for retail merchandisers is largely on the job and competency-based and usually involves working towards specific set tasks and undertaking projects, either individually or as part of a larger team. Most retail companies will have a training scheme. This will vary according to employer but may include courses on system training, consumer behaviour, assertiveness, time management, negotiation and communication.
There are a number of courses that can be taken in merchandising prior to entry including short courses in fashion merchandising at the London College of Fashion and postgraduate taught courses and research opportunities at a variety of universities.
A number of further education colleges offer courses that focus on retail display and merchandising, and the British Shops and Stores Association (BSSA) offers a distance-learning foundation course in buying/merchandising for people working in the field.
The Fashion Retail Academy was set up to support those wishing to embark on a career in fashion retail. The Academy aims to work in partnership with the retail industry to deliver professional and vocational training programmes, including the Level 4 Diploma in Buying and Merchandising. The course has strong links with fashion retail head offices in London, which enables students to gain first-hand experience as part of their studies. Modules include buying, sourcing, range building, merchandising, allocation, supply chain, negotiating, and planning and budgeting.
Professional qualifications that may appeal to merchandisers include those offered by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) .
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