Job description

Retail buyers plan, select, manage and acquire goods and merchandise to stock inventories inside stores and web outlets. They also review current supplies to ensure they’re in good quality, as well as source new products to remain competitive in a tough sector.


    • Confer with store owner or management to determine budgets, goals and prices
    • Determine the value of products that your store may be interested in
    • Outline business strategies and how your company can sell these products
    • Purchase merchandise for resale to retail or wholesale customers
    • Maintain and organise inventories of merchandise, supplies and commodities
    • Approve or disapprove auction transactions or return of stocks
    • Meet with suppliers and negotiate prices, discounts, terms and transportation
    • Inspect the goods to ensure they are of high quality and meet your corporate standards
    • Communicate with clerks on product information, like price, style number, season code and markups/markdowns
    • Analyse market conditions, industry trends and competitors’ buying habits and preferences
    • Work with the marketing team to establish strategies to boost product awareness and appeal to shoppers
    • Hold internal meetings to generate ideas on ways to sell new merchandise

Skills and qualities

Risk management
Time management

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk


Career progression

With experience, you can work your way into category development, contracts specialist, importing and exporting, and procurement management.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

Standard business hours

Retail buyers typically work more reasonable and reliable hours than somebody else employed in a brick-and-mortar store. That said, they can expect to work a standard a 9-to-5 schedule.

As a retail buyer, you will primarily work inside a store or other corporate locations, but you can expect plenty of local and international travel to meet suppliers, test out new products and attend industry conferences.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Bachelor’s degree in business or related subject

Study time

4 years

To become a retail buyer, you will generally need to possess a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, marketing or supply management. That said, it’s also possible to enter this profession with previous hands-on experience in the retail sector.

Although not required, gaining certification – such as the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) offered by the American Purchasing Society (APS) – can increase your job prospects.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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