A Day in The Life of an Allocator in Merchandising

This is a follow up article from my post on “The Merchandising Glossary: A Guide to Being an Allocator”.

Okay, so you’ve stumbled across this because you’re considering a life in merchandising, what it entails, and what it takes to start out.

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I recently moved from Manchester to London. It’s full circle because I’m originally from London and moved to Manchester 11 months ago. I chose to move back to London because I desperately wanted to pursue my dreams of becoming a merchandiser, and unfortunately there are no real opportunities to do this outside of London. The reason being is that London is the hub of fashion company head offices. Manchester has two.

Now, I have only been an allocator for almost 6 months, but when researching the role online, there was sadly minimal information on this. I will be writing several other blog posts on merchandising, including a glossary, the application process, and what being an allocator entails.

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You may notice when looking through allocator and MAA (merchandising admin assistant) roles, you may notice that hours are a little longer, ranging from 9.00-5.30pm, and sometimes 8.30-5.30pm on Mondays. The reasoning for this is the amount of reports that are meticulously scheduled each day, often attached with a deadline.

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Now, let me give you a glimpse of the busiest day of the week for you. This is my Monday morning every week:

Monday 8.30 am
8:15am – Aim to arrive 15-20 mins early every day.

I like to arrive early in the morning because it takes me a little longer to run my reports since I am so new at this. I will list all the reports made at an allocator level, all of which I do not complete and are shared among the team.

I aim to set up and create the daily intake spreadsheet for the week. This is created everyday, and this contains information drawn from a report regarding stock that has come into the distribution centre, and at what quantities, as well as a forecasting report detailing at what hits these products will be coming in.

I am also responsible for creating the B01 (best sellers) report for both UK&EU, and US sales. This is a report created from sales reports which shows you total units of all stock with how much has been sold, the sell-through rate, branch sales, web sales, web cover, store cover, as well as last weeks’ sales. You can use this report to see if you want to push extra stock to stores or extend any lines.

Whilst this is being done, the other members of the team are creating a covers by band report, daily US intake report, and the DC res report. The meaning for all of these reports can be found here.

Throughout the rest of the day, we carry out actions in our own categories. What this consists of is looking through the sales reports we have created, as well as combining this with store feedback on what items we can afford to push and extend.

In addition to this, we look to create our own daily intake reports to see what has come into the distribution centre in order to its allocation.

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Rest of the week 9 am start

The UK and EU daily intake sheet is created again, and so is the US daily intake sheet. From here, the allocators check what they need to allocate for the day.

During the day additional actions may be given. This can include putting stock on hold, stopping PAR for particular items, removing a store from the grading system, scheduling mark downs/mark ups, and creating builds, consolidations, and prepping allocation plans for the following day.

Other ad-hoc duties may include running slow sellers reports to see if replenishment should be stopped for any particular stores, or if consolidations should be made on that store to support others.  In addition to that, during this peak season, you are often scheduling promotions and approving these changes – this may be another ad-hoc task to do.

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Category

Depending on the category you look after, you will have different tasks from the rest of the team of allocators that are specific for your category.

For example, I look after footwear and accessories, and therefore I have 3 specific reports that I run every week:

  • Jewellery Tracker

There are selected stores which we have identified as our top selling jewellery stores. In order to encourage these sales, special fixtures have been installed in these stores, and there is an ideal number of styles each store should carry to maximise the effects of the sales.

Therefore this tracker uses to data dumps to configure the variance of what each store is stocking, the action that I then take is to send additional styles to these stores.

  • Sunglasses Tracker

This is the exact same concept as the jewellery tracker, though it is for sunglasses.

  • Custom Stores

Custom or capacity stores are stores which have a small stockroom. Therefore, because footwear and accessories take up a large amount of space in these stock rooms, these select stores do not receive the whole F&A package.

Updating this spreadsheet with up to date store data shows me how many styles over capacity the store is over. The action I take if they are over capacity is to turn off replenishment for these lines and get the stock moved to another store in the surrounding area.

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Overall outlook

This role is very excel heavy, and you will spend a large chunk of your time working from reports on excel, as well as the system that your company uses for allocation and merchandising.

This role is most suited for you if you have more of a business mindset, are technical and analytical.

 

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