Retail buyers are responsible for making sure that the right products are available for sale at the right time. Most work within an area of specialism – e.g. fashion, FMCG, jewellery or music. The role is fast-paced, as retail cycles are seasonal and market trends change several times a year.
What skills do you need to be a retail buyer?
- Analytical skills to assess trends and consumer buying patterns
- Business skills – e.g. managing budgets and negotiating prices
- Report writing and good presentation skills to sell your ideas to others
- The ability to work independently, make key decisions and be responsible for your choices.
- Interpersonal and team-working skills
Working conditions for retail buyers
Most retail buyers work from Monday to Friday, although it’s not unusual to work additional hours to meet tight deadlines. Overseas travel is often part of the job, particularly in the fashion sector. Retail buyers in all areas attend trade fairs, shows and events during the buying season. In large companies, retail buyers travel between stores.
Salaries for retail buyer roles
The average salary for a retail buyer is just under £34,000, rising to £45,000 with 10-20 years’ experience. Senior buyers earn between £45,000 and £70,000 or more.
How to become a retail buyer
If you have a degree in business or retail, it’s possible to join a graduate traineeship. There are some training schemes specifically for retail buyers, particularly in fashion.
It’s common to begin your career in another area of retail and to move into a buying role. Becoming a buyer’s administration assistant and working up to role of assistant then junior buyer would be another route.
With strong competition for buyer roles, most employers will look for people with retail experience. In particular, experience in merchandising or marketing will give you a competitive edge.
Search our current retail buyer vacancies here.