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Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner
at Lilly Pulitzer
King of Prussia, PA - Home Office
The Omni Channel Merchandise Planner has responsibility for assisting the Sr. Director of Omni Channel Merchandise Planning and Allocation with Total Company Merchandise Planning in a way that optimizes gross profit volume, full-price sell through, and achieves growth in the business. Doing this well will delight the consumer and lead to the profitable growth of the company.
This is within the context of the current company strategy, brand positioning, and overall product and distribution strategies. This is consistent with the company Creed, Core Values, and Core Leadership Qualities.
Performance in this position is measured by achieving budgeted Net Sales, Gross Profit and Sell Through targets. All other elements of the position description are subsets of this.
The Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner has eight main areas of responsibility. The Planner must execute a metrics-based approach to merchandise planning within each season, and match the tradeoffs of projecting and taking risk on the upside and downside within the business. Managing the balance between historical information and seasonal merchandise strategies, along with having good judgement on risk versus growth opportunities are key responsibilities for the Planner.
Each area of responsibility is outlined below.
1. Collaborate with Lead Merchants, Lead Designer and Sr. Director to determine seasonal financial assortment plan, merchandising and planning strategies and delivery dates.
o The Sr. Director has overall responsibility for setting topline seasonal metrics and delivery strategies in motion. The Planner must collaborate effectively with her, lead merchants and lead designers to set the next subset of targets that supports the design vision, as well as topline company growth initiatives for the year.
o This includes setting and adjusting the following throughout the PD process: dollar and SCP targets by shape, class, surface and delivery; AUR targets by shape and class; monthly inventory targets.
o The Sr. Director will provide IMU targets by shape and class. The Planner must put strategies in place that support achievement of these targets at the shape, class and total level.
2. Collaborate Effectively with Merchants and Allocators with the goal of projecting SCP quantities that achieve DTC needs, Wholesale Bookings Targets, Total Company Net Sales and Full-Price Sell Through
o The VP of Merchandising and Planning and the Sr. Director will help integrate the planning team with the design, merchandising and allocation teams at the appropriate times during the product development process.
o Planners must integrate with merchandising early in the development cycle, beginning at the assortment plan stage and Seasonal Kick Off so that late stage changes to the projections are a reflection of execution instead of planning adjustments. Exceptions may be made if new information arises during the development cycle.
o Planners must also integrate with the Allocation team to ensure DTC bottoms up needs are met, through base buy exercises, feedback from the field and other allocation needs.
o Planner must provide projection guidelines to the Wholesale business leaders so that they can use during seasonal order preparation and On Sale process. These should be provided to channel heads at Wholesale Workshop Meeting, after being finalized for Price Approval.
o The Planner should play a lead role in the weekly What’s Selling Meeting on Mondays with support from Merchandising. The goal of this meeting to inform key members of Design on the selling of current season, with an eye on future assortments that we can still impact.
3. Collaborate with the Sr. Director, Finance and PD teams to secure inventory commitments via the seasonal buy process.
o Planner must be able to collaborate with and provide information to Sr. Director, Finance team, and PD team on bookings information for the seasonal buy process. This includes a breakdown by shape for projection purposes, as well as information on inventory needs for each segment of the business – DTC, ATC, and Wholesale.
o Planner should review weekly buy projections and needs and provide recommendations to Sr. Director for any adjustments to be made to inventory at the SCP level.
4. Project SCP and Inventory Needs for Non-Seasonal Merchandise Segments.
o Non-Seasonal segments of business are becoming a larger part of the company’s invent tory as we grow. The Planner must create and utilize tools to track, project and manage SCP counts and inventory for these segments. The Planner must also communicate a regular, holistic State of the Union of these segments in conjunction with seasonal segments to Merchants, Planners, and Allocators and ID any red flags. Understanding of and visibility to changes year over year is critical to achievement of financial targets. This will need to be at many levels, but most importantly at the Seasonal, Month and Delivery level.
o segments to her merchandising, planning and allocation counterparts. Doing this effectively will enable the company to achieve its financial targets.
o The 3 Non-Seasonal segments include Always in Stock/Seasonal Basics, Fast Track/Seasonless Chase, and Licensed Products. These are growing, important areas of business that are developed outside of seasonal product lines and require a high level of planning and attention.
o As a subset of this, the Planner must collaborate with the Brand Manager, Licensed and Custom Products on the direct to consumer receipt planning and inventory management of Licensed Products
o The Lilly Pulitzer distribution channels carry product lines from outside vendors. These are companies with which we have established licensing agreements to design and distribute products under the Lilly Pulitzer name. They are Lifeguard Press and Kenmark Optical, and there is potential for others in the future.
o The Planner will be responsible for projecting the inventory for this assortment of products from these two vendors in the direct to consumer channels. This will include advanced receipt planning, then hand off to the Inventory Planning and Allocation Manager for allocation, inventory management and liquidation.
5. Assist the Sr Director and Finance Teams with the Annual Product Budgeting Process.
o The company has an annual budgeting process to set net sales targets by class, by month, by channel. The planner is responsible for leading the execution of these bottoms up budget plans, in line with inventory commitments for each season.
o The planner must prepare, review and present the data to the VP of Merchandising and Planning and the Sr. Director and provide insights on opportunities or changes that need to be made. The budget must include all seasonal and non-seasonal merchandise segments.
o The planner should look for times and opportunities throughout the year to review where we are to each area of the budget, and present recommendations to adjust where needed to achieve the plans.
o The planner will also be responsible for presenting the budget to the broad merchandising, planning and allocation teams once final.
6. Assist with the execution of strategies that will help us achieve Sell Through Targets in line with inventory commitments for the year.
o Conduct a post season assessment of our planning strategies, selling and sell through to improve future assortments and depth opportunities.
o Review performance of Top 25 Styles each season and compare to where we planned. This should include overall mix of styles within Top 25 as well as contribution to the total.
o Conduct a Seasonal Feedback Meeting with Merchants, Designers and Distribution Leaders to garner feedback on the seasonal line, including any immediate opportunities for Chase.
o Execute seasonal velocity assessment, as well as profitability assessment to help merchants and other planners make more profitable decisions on the lines in development. This includes review of IMU/MMU and Full price vs Markdown selling at the class level.
o Partner with Inventory and Allocation Manager to identify methods to communicate to Merchandising what excess inventory issues there are at the end of the cycle. Using this as a tool to improve future line development, identifying the difference between a depth issue or style issue.
7. Collaborate with the Creative Communications Team and the Distribution Teams to Project and Manage All Packaging Inventory.
o Packaging is a part of every transaction. As such, the company needs to maintain appropriate levels of inventory in all areas of packaging in order to best serve the consumer. The Planner will be responsible for creating and maintaining relationships with the packaging vendor, distribution contacts and creative communications team to ensure all inventory needs are met. The Planner must have constant knowledge of packaging inventory available, as well as foresight to react when inventory is getting low.
8. Develop Core Leadership Skills and Develop any Direct Reports
o It is critical for the Planner to develop key skills including, but not limited to, Company First; Develop Strategy and Deliver Results; Foster Creativity within Structure; Play to Win. The Planner should also begin to instill these in any direct reports. All Core Values and Core Leadership Skills are important, but these four are most relevant to this team’s impact on the profitable growth of the business.
SKILLS REQUIRED TO PERFORM SUCCESSFULLY:
- The Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner must be able to effectively collaborate with colleagues, fit with the Company Creed, Core Values, and Core Leadership Qualities.
- The ability to interact effectively with several other departments, including Merchandising, Design, Production, Retail, E-commerce, Sales, Communications, and the Distribution Center is required.
- The Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner must have sufficient fashion sense and knowledge of the customer to understand the Lilly Pulitzer® lifestyle. The Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner should use this information to determine merchandise assortments, improvements to future merchandise lines, visual presentations, and communications which grow the business profitably.
- The Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner must have a genuine excitement for and appreciation of the Lilly Pulitzerâ concept.
- The Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner needs good left brain / right brain skills. The left brain / right brain abilities refer to having proficiencies both aesthetically and quantitatively. The Planner needs to know from a fashion and aesthetic standpoint why merchandise sells or doesn’t sell, and must be comfortable with quantitative analysis of selling, assortment, planning and gross profit.
- The analytical skills and discipline to recommend tradeoffs in merchandise assortment which contribute to the profitability of the company, while maintaining long-term fashion leadership position of the brand, are critical.
- The Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner needs strong people skills. These include the capabilities to work and collaborate effectively with colleagues and the ability to motivate and inspire direct reports.
- The Omni-Channel Merchandise Planner must be proficient in the preparation and updating of merchandise plans, open to buy, class buy plans and analyzing and interpreting retail selling information. This must be by door. The Planner must be comfortable in an environment of primarily full-price selling. The Planner must become proficient in the Island Pacific® software for merchandising and sales analysis. This includes the ability to set up and use flexible databases for analysis.
- The Planner must have proficient skills in visual merchandising and understanding how a merchandise assortment is presented on the retail selling floor.
· Spend sufficient time in retail stores to understand the customer, merchandise and marketplace.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills are necessary.
- The sense of urgency necessary in the apparel industry is required.
- Comfort with technology systems and strong capabilities with Microsoft Windowsâ, Excelâ and Word are important. The ability to be an effective user of the company’s Island Pacific® retail software is required.
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIRED:
· A four year college degree is required. A degree in fashion apparel management or a related subject is helpful.
· At least 2-5 years of experience in the apparel retailing business is required, preferably with a women’s fashion, branded, lifestyle apparel company.
· This position is classified as full-time salaried; it is exempt and is not eligible for overtime. This position is eligible for standard company fringe benefits.
· The position requires domestic travel to company retail locations. Much of this domestic travel is overnight. The overnight travel represents approximately 10% to 20% of time.
· Given the seasonality of the business, this position may require flexible, additional working hours during peak periods.
· This position is based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.
· This position is reviewed annually.
Lilly Pulitzer® is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Lilly Pulitzer® designs and distributes apparel and accessories for women and children. It all started 50ish years ago with a simple shift dress in Palm Beach, Florida. Today, Lilly Pulitzer® provides a collection of modern resort wear inspired by the authentic Palm Beach lifestyle. Lilly Pulitzer® can be found online and in 30 company-operated retail stores, over 70 Signature Stores and major department stores nationwide