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Associate Merchandise Planner

Paper Source

Chicago, Illinois
posted August 2, 2021

Position Summary 

The Associate Merchandise Planner is responsible for developing annual sales, margin and turnover goals that tie to the annual goals of the company.  Additionally, this position is accountable for the forecasting and placement of orders, allocation of inventory to stores, maintaining adequate warehouse inventory levels, assortment planning, and managing receipts that tie to the open-to-buy. This position will be trained in all aspects of merchandise planning and allocation while having direct responsibility for select departments.  This position requires advanced excel skills.

Key Role Responsibilities 

  • Forecast sku-level selling and create monthly reorders, both domestic and import, for all product within your department.  Provide forecasts for select suppliers with longer lead times.
  • Seasonal assortment planning for stores and ecomm, forecasting sales and inventory at item, store, and warehouse level.
  • Develop financial plans and be a strategic thought partner for multiple departments.
  • Manage the production process for Paper Source produced items. Order components from third party vendors, build plans for production, and follow through on progress.
  • Allocate product to stores and ecomm by analyzing door-level trends and applying future forecasts.
  • Prepare for, and participate in, monthly open-to-buy meetings.  Forecast sales, margin and inventory with partnership from merchant counterpart.  Develop action plans to meet sales goals and margin.  Manage receipts to open-to-buy and define plan to meet inventory targets. Identify risks and opportunities at both the department and item level.
  • Provide ad hoc reporting as needed to measure sales, margin and inventory sell thru.
  • Identify slow sellers, developing an exit strategy to minimize markdowns.
  • Partner cross-functionally with store ops, production, distribution center, marketing, ecomm, and the design team.
  • Offer to develop processes and make recommendations to current processes.

Key Selection Criteria

We are looking for a candidate with an entrepreneurial spirit that enjoys the challenges of retail and is willing to fully own a business end-to-end and partner with cross functional partners to deliver business results.  This changing business requires a flexible, inquisitive individual with a high degree of organization skills, and the ability to prioritize to meet deadlines.  The job involves working with multiple business units and requires good written, verbal and communication skills.



  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • 2-3 years planning and/or allocation experience preferred
  • Advanced Excel skills required
  • Demonstrated ability to problem solve with laser focus on attention to detail.
  • Proven ability to compile quantitative analysis, create insights and learnings, and translate into business opportunity.
  • Ability to interact and engage with cross-functional teams with exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
  • Candidate should have demonstrated ability to be organized and multi task while setting & executing against priorities.
  • Candidate must have high degree of flexibility and a track record of quickly adapting to an ever-changing environment.
  • Candidate must display a positive, can-do attitude and must be an active team player.