Retail buyer

Retail buyers choose products for shops to sell.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £70,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

Future employment

There will be 5% more Retail buyer jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You may work for high street retailers, mail order companies or online sellers. You'll be responsible for one area like fashion, cosmetics, DIY or electronics.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • analysing and forecasting trends from consumer data
  • attending trade fairs to find new products
  • managing product quality and getting customer feedback
  • negotiating prices, orders and delivery dates
  • presenting collections to senior managers
  • tracking sales figures, managing stock levels and keeping to budgets
  • checking and reacting to competitor activities
  • adapting quickly to changing consumer behaviour

You'll usually need a degree or college qualification in retail or business. Some retail experience will also help.

Some companies offer buyer training schemes or management training schemes where you can specialise in buying.

You may also be able to work your way up from the shop floor to the role of buyer's administration assistant, then assistant or junior buyer.

You could start retail training through an apprenticeship.

£18,000 to £70,000

Starter salary: £18,000 to £30,000

Experienced salary: £35,000 to £40,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

You'll usually work 35 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday, although tight deadlines can often mean working late.

You'll spend most of your time in an office, usually the head office of your organisation. You may go out to visit stores or spend time away to meet suppliers and attend trade fairs in the UK and abroad.

With experience and training you could become a senior buyer, buying controller or head of buying. You could also move into product management, marketing or merchandising.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • excellent numeracy, IT and analytical skills
  • the ability to negotiate and network
  • strong judgement and decision-making skills
  • an excellent presentation style
  • the ability to work to strict deadlines under pressure
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