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General Merchandise Manager

With all this buying and selling, a leader must enter the scene who is capable of managing a sales floor.  This hero(ine) will be called something like General Merchandise Manager.

This person, who is just short of super-human, will manage the daily running of the sales floor.  But the General Merchandise Manager develops more than just merchandise displays and procedures.  He or she must be a people person, capable of developing staff members into friendly, enthusiastic assets to the retailer.

Your passion for people, especially those working beside you, for details, and for quality in products and personal performance will set you apart in this position.  Every applicant for General Merchandise Manager should have a background in management, but it is the ones who can think outside the box and who are filled with not only ambition but also enthusiasm, who will excel in a merchandise management career.  Your personal development speaks volumes in this position, as you are a leader, and therefore very visible in the day-to-day operation of your company.

If you are pursuing a career in merchandise management, or considering it, there are a few questions encourages you to ask yourself.  Are you organized?  Do you know how to get results?  Are you a good communicator?  Are you flexible?  Are you good at problem-solving?

So let's take those soul-searching inquiries one-by-one

Are you organized?  Do you plan your time well?  Can you help others do the same?  You may be planning and measuring other people's performance, as well as attending to your own.  An organized, well-planned store and an organized, knowledgeable staff provide customers with a more satisfying retail experience.  You are at the helm for making sure that the proper plans and policies are in place to deliver service and products to ultimately satisfied customers.

Do you know how to get results?  Can you draw tangible results out of others and yourself?  Can you prove it?  This is one of those cases where the proof is in the pudding.  Have you regularly met financial targets at your current position?  Have profit margins increased by a good percentage, or even held steady despite market fluctuations, since you started manning the merchandise ship?  If you can point to a history of management experience in which you had documented, quantifiable results, then you have a shot at grabbing a job as a General Merchandise Manager.

Are you a good communicator?  Do you work well within the sometimes difficult dynamics of a sales floor team?  Your ability to communicate effectively with them building camaraderie while maintaining your authority - can make or break you as a General Merchandise Manager.  You will be managing their performance and developing them as professionals and members of your team, so your communication skills are ultra-important.  You will also need to be able to know some basics of merchandising and marketing in order to manage the sales floor.  You can provide customers with what they don't even know they need if you can just show them how much they need it.  You will also be responsible for presentations for those who in positions that are both senior and junior to yours, explaining your decisions and accomplishments, and reinforcing objectives and goals, respectively.

Are you flexible?  This question has nothing to do with your Twister skills. Distilled, this question comes down to flexibility with your time.  How many hours of your time can you sacrifice for this position?  Are you willing to make a full-on, headlong commitment of your time?  A General Merchandise Manager possesses a willingness to work flex hours or extended hours to make sure that tasks get completed and the sales floor is running smoothly, before ending the day.  You may even be required to work in other retail outlets than your usual one, which requires the flexibility to travel when the need arises.  You also might be required to complete either in-house training, or extra college credit hours, etc.  Are you able to fit this into your life?

Are you good at solving problems?  Can you prove it?  It is important to be able for General Merchandise Managers to analyze big-picture situations quickly, and to bring them to a conclusion/resolution in a reasonable amount of time.  In order to do so, you will have to keep on top of your game, by being prepared and aware of what is going not only at the store level, but also within your company.

Welcome to the GMM job description section of the Apparel Search employment directory.  In this section of our guide we present information relevant to a career as a General Merchandise Manager.  Although for many of our career descriptions we provide information that we have developed internally, a large portion of this section relies heavily on user input.  No one knows a career path better than someone that has actually worked in the particular position.  Therefore, we welcome members of the fashion community to submit their personal experience to this page.  Active members of the fashion industry are welcome to contribute to the job descriptions by using the comment area below.

If you have previously or currently work as a GMM please add your insight to the community discussion.  Educators such as fashion school teachers and knowledgeable garment industry veterans are also welcome to comment.  Let's all work together to help educate the world about various fashion careers.  More specifically, let's education regarding this particular career path.

Please only post educational information or questions specifically relevant to the job of a GMM.
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