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Job Description

About The Role

We have an exciting new sports lifestyle brand that will be exclusively joining our portfolio in the region this year. The Associate Planner is directly responsible for using a data-driven approach and collaborating with buying partners to maximize return on investment via OTB ownership. Focus on driving profitable sales and margin through development of seasonal and yearly product sales plans, including financial planning, budgeting, 
forecasting driven through a focus on consumer demand, in order to maximize sales and gross margin opportunity across an initial brand/category ownership.

What You’ll Be Doing

Partner with Inventory Planning, Buying, Finance, Commercial, and Digital business to develop the merchandise and OTB strategy, using data-driven input from sales trends, customer analytics, market conditions and supplier demands to drive profitable business decision making.
• Build and present the merchandise strategy and OTB for all brands and product groups as assigned including retail, distribution and digital channels, with forecast accuracy being of critical importance.
• Demonstrate sound OTB and financial planning to optimize in season inventory management as well as seasonal flow.
• Align with buying and execute the strategic direction for all aspects of product pricing including Sale/Promotions/Full Price/Indexing impacts in order to drive profitable sales and value to the customer.
• Ensure the Merchandise Planning team partners with the Inventory Planning Team in order to drive Sell Through and maximize yield management.
• Assess merchandise management policies, procedures and systems in line with relevant governance controls and oversight principles

Functional Leadership
• Develop management skills to lead the merchandise planning teams.
• Responsible for Forecast accuracy across all key OTB metrics.
• Develop monthly OTB Inventory flow and purchase plans from Inventory planning and present further actions required.
• Deliver quality merchandise and assortment plans taking into account key KPI’s, trend, customer behaviour, and omni-channel landscape and brand strategies.
• Drive accurate buy planning and projections through regular sales monitoring and identification of merchandise turnover risks along with Inventory Team.
• Analyze Reporting and suggested action plans of all the key metrics, to review performance over key periods of Full Price, Markdown and Key Events in order to provide insightful actions required to deliver profitable sales.
• Support the Senior Planner/DPM (Merchandising) on Portfolio Summaries and business anlaytics.
Pre-Season Planning

Develop the annual sales budgets and forecasts for the area of responsibility, working closely with the buying and finance teams to gain alignment on sales, margin, and turnover targets. 
• Evaluate market and customer information together with historical data and forward trends forecast to develop assortment vision.
• Review continuity content to ensure assortments are within aging standards; align with the inventory planning team and take action on product outside of guidelines to make the correct buying decisions.
Assortment Vision and Strategy
• Analyze sales and inventory flow to determine specific category and product trends as well as consumer 
behaviors to build foundation for assortment and allocation strategies to create attractive offerings.
• Make recommendations for pricing activity such as index opportunities/promotional markdowns or clearance. 
• Identify white space opportunities, assortment optimization initiatives, and growth opportunities.
• Develop and provide buying counterparts with SKU/Class plans by channel that are-aligned with the merchandise strategy.
In-Season Assortment Management and Allocation
• Continually reforecast with an 18-month view to adjust future forecasts by channel as trends evolve within season to highlight areas of opportunity or mitigate risk.
• Collaborate with buying counterparts in the presentation of OTB strategy to leverage opportunities and/or plan for resolution of problems.
• Analyze in-season product performance, focused on channel demand; class/category performance, style performance, and major marketing performance and make suggestive actions.
• Provide strategic guidance to buyers and vendors on channel performance and assortment needs to influence future assortment plans.
• Monitor and Identify sales and gross margin opportunities by channel and take appropriate action to maximize.
• Conduct store visits regularly in all markets to review brand performance and competitor activities

People Management Roles and Responsibilities
As entry level to management, learn to lead, engage and guide direct reports towards the achievement of business strategies, goals and objectives.
• Learn to give feedback to direct reports through feedback coaching sessions with Planner/Senior Planners.
• Learn to demonstrate the importance of forecast accuracy individually through individual performance.
• Lead, coach and develop junior team members so to develop them for higher-level roles across Merchandising and Inventory Planning

About You

Education/Certification and Continued Education
A bachelor’s degree preferably in a relevant field such as Business, Finance or Supply Chain is a requirement.
Years of Experience 
Minimum of 5+ years’ merchandise planning experience within a multi-channel retail organization.
Knowledge and Skills
 Highly numerical, analytical and data driven with an ability to decipher highly complex reports and quantitative figures.
• Strong financial modeling & analysis skills.
• Advanced knowledge of excel and MS office and financial analysis and planning tools.
• Commercially minded problem-solver with proven track-record of delivering financial targets.
• Ability to build and maintain productive cross-functional relationships to deliver business results.
• Ability to negotiate and influence effectively.
• Strong stakeholder management, communication and presentation skills.
• Knowledge of retail business.
• Product and market knowledge relevant to the area of responsibility.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates